Apple granted autonomous vehicle testing permit in California

Joanna Estrada
April 15, 2017

Late a year ago, Apple submitted a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in which it said that it was "investing heavily in the study of machine learning and automation, and is excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation".

Apple Inc has secured a permit to test autonomous vehicles in California, the state Department of Motor Vehicles said on Friday. Not the real Apple Car.

The permit, awarded by California's Department of Motor Vehicles, allows Apple to test self-driving cars on public roads in the largest US state, adding it to a list of other companies with permits that includes Alphabet Inc.'s Google and Tesla Inc.

The permit does not necessarily mean Apple is building a vehicle.

The tech company also lists Robert Bosch as one of its suppliers, however Apple declined to give details on the nature of the relationship. The majority of the companies that are permitted to test in California aren't trying to build their own vehicle platform.

The DMV says that any manufacturer of autonomous technologies must apply to the California DMV before it can test a vehicle in autonomous mode on public roads.

In California, all companies that participate in the Autonomous Vehicle Testing Program must file Disengagement Reports that outline how many miles were covered with self-driving vehicles, so if Apple does test a vehicle, the information will be shared on the DMV's website.

Apple executives have been coy about their interest in cars.

Last fall KGI released a report claiming Apple's work on augmented reality would be applied to autonomous driving technology, although a month prior it was reported that work on Apple's actual electric vehicle was halted as the focus moved to self-driving technology alone.

This suggests that Apple may begin testing cars in autonomous roads soon. The company also has a team in Canada working on a vehicle operating system that would power the platform, people familiar with the matter have said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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