The iPhone of cars? Apple enters self-driving car race

Apple-Self Driving Cars

Apple-Self Driving Cars

Ending years of speculation, Apple's late entry into a crowded field was made official Friday with the disclosure that the California Department of Motor Vehicles had awarded a permit for the company to start testing its self-driving auto technology on public roads in the state.

More information about the company's testing will come with its first report to the California DMV, which requires companies like Uber's Otto and Google's Waymo to report their disengagement rates.

Neil Cybart, an independent analyst who writes about Apple at the Web site Above Avalon, said the company appeared to have moved away from plans to build and sell cars like Tesla Motors Inc does. The current permit allows Apple to test self-driving technology in three 2015 Lexus RX 450h luxury hybrid sport utility vehicles.

Apple does not test a full self-driving vehicle. Now, Apple sits on the list along with companies such as Ford and General Motors. This suggests, as Gizmodo says, that Apple is likely more interested in keeping up with the technology itself than in actually producing a vehicle.

The Department of Motor Vehicles in the company's home state confirmed on Friday the permit had been issued (via Reuters).

The project quickly became something of an open secret among technology-watchers, even if it was never truly clear what Apple was working on.

Bill Murray to join cellist for music and spoken word tour
The project dates back to early 2013, when Vogler and Murray were sitting across from each other on a flight from Berlin to NY . The album is expected to be out sometime in August. "We are from four different continents", he said.

What this says about Apple's future in the sector remains to be seen. Apple would have loved to keep this under wraps, but unfortunately, they have to get a permit before they begin testing.

This is the next positive step taken by Apple where autonomous driving is concerned after Apple sent in a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in November past year.

It's still unclear whether this means that Apple will be manufacturing entire cars, or just developing the software that enables them to operate autonomously. "In reality, the complexity of designing and manufacturing a vehicle may push the company to integrate deeply with an automotive partner or partners in an effort more similar to the Apple TV - plugging Apple's technology into an existing product".

But it's weird, isn't it, that a computer company that has made forays into entertainment in the last decade and has also become a telecom giant with the iPhone now wants to be a self-driving vehicle company too?

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

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