Apple receives permission to test self-driving cars on public roads in the U.S. state of California. The approval made public by the traffic authority is the clearest indication yet of Apple’s ambitions in the embattled future market for autonomous driving. Apple is the 30. Company ied such a license in the most populous U.S. state.
Rivals such as Waymo, but also major players in the automotive industry such as Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Bosch, Ford, General Motors or Tesla have long had permission for such tests in California. Uber recently joined the fray after the ride-hailing company initially wanted to test its self-driving cars without such a permit, but the transit agency didn’t play along.
Although Apple’s involvement in self-driving cars has long been considered an open secret, it has never been publicly confirmed by the company itself. The clearest hint so far was a letter to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to get involved in self-driving car guidelines. Apart from that, it only said that mobility is an interesting future market.
Apple also reportedly started developing its own electric vehicles up to the first prototypes a few years ago, but then refocused the project on software for autonomous driving. According to data from the transport authority, approval has now been granted for three modified Lexus vehicles. Google also started with modified production cars before sending its own electric two-seaters on the road.