Apple received a permit to test self-driving cars in California

California's DMV disclosed the permit on its website, which lists several dozen other companies that are testing self-driving technology.

The state's Department of Motor Vehicles issued a permit for Apple to begin testing self-driving vehicles in California. Apple is the 30th group to receive a permit in California, alongside carmakers Ford, Volkswagen and General Motors, suppliers including Delphi and Bosch and start-ups such as Zoox, Drive.ai and Plus.ai.

It has always been known that Apple is working on automotive-related projects, but the company has never publicly confirmed any details.

When asked for comment, Apple pointed me back to their statement to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in December: "We've provided comments to NHTSA because Apple is investing heavily in machine learning and autonomous systems".

So, Apple's vision for autonomous systems clearly extends beyond transportation, but for now, they appear to be getting ready to burn some rubber (um, hopefully not) in California with their latest self-driving software.

"These rules expand our existing autonomous vehicle testing program to include testing vehicles where no driver is present", DMV Director Jean Shiomoto said then.

Previous year the group abandoned efforts to build an electric vehicle and refocused on the systems that underpin self-driving cars, according to people familiar with the situation.

Chinese tech giant Baidu, which is working on autonomous driving at its California research center, this week announced the acquisition of xPerception, a USA startup that provides visual perception software, along with services and devices for people who are visually impaired.

Why this matters: This is the first indication we've seen in a while that Apple's super-secret Project Titan is still in the pipeline. But she said Apple could be a "major player" in the autonomous vehicle industry. At last, the company's secretive efforts was crowned by the success.

While it may be a while yet before autonomous vehicles become mainstream, many companies appear to be quite enthusiastic about the phenomenon, and the driverless auto race continues to become more competitive.

Apple has secured a permit for autonomous-vehicle testing in California, the Wall Street Journal reports. So, why do they need a permit for testing?

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