On Friday, the California Department of Motor Vehicles provided tantalizing confirmation that not only is Apple working on automotive technology, it also has plans for autonomous vehicles.
Like Google did in the past, Apple will most likely be fitting these vehicles with it's own software and hardware to test in real-world conditions what they've been secretly developing in their own labs. The company also has a team in Canada working on a car-operating system that would power the platform, people familiar with the matter have said.
The President of Consultancy at Theodore & Associates, and also a former vice president at Ford Motor Company and Chrysler, Chris Theodore, commented on the matter to Reuters: "This does confirm what's always been rumored: that Apple is at least toying with the idea of getting into the autonomous game in some capacity". The list includes major automakers, including Ford, General Motors, BMW, Volkswagen and Tesla, as well as one of its biggest rivals in technology, Google, whose testing of self-driving cars has been spun off into an affiliate called Waymo. Uber was a notable hold-out-it refused to apply for a self-driving permit in December after it launched its self-driving auto pilot program.
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Apple was so mum about the project that some thought it may have been shuttered, said Michelle Krebs, executive analyst for Autotrader.
"Apple uses machine learning to make its products and services smarter, more intuitive and more personal". Google and Uber have them, and the latter also started testing self-driving cars with its Pittsburgh customers late previous year.
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Apple declined to comment, referring to public remarks that it had submitted to federal highway authorities in November on its research into automation. "Being able to test self-driving cars in California is nothing new, as many companies have permits in the state".
Like others, Apple believes self-driving cars could ease congestion, prevent millions of crashes and save thousands of lives annually in traffic accidents often caused by drunk or distracted motorists.
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