Apple Continues to Expand its Self-Driving Car Initiative

In January of this year, it was reported that Apple had expanded its fleet of self-driving cars to a total of 27. But that was just a stepping stone.

According to a report today from the Financial Times, Apple continues to put a focused effort in its self-driving software tests, utilizing a fleet of vehicles that continues to expand within the state of California. Based on information gathered from California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Apple has permits to test up to 45 self-driving vehicles within the state.

That means that Apple started with three vehicles a year ago, jumped up to 27 vehicles in January, and added more than 20 to its feet in just a couple of months. It is also worth noting that Apple’s jump in numbers here actually leapfrogs the likes of Uber and even Tesla in California. The latter company has 39 permits, while the former has 29 permits. Both Uber and Tesla are testing in other states, too, though.

Of course, while Tesla and Uber aren’t shy at all when it comes to their own self-driving initiatives, Apple is definitely not going out of its way to talk about what it is doing. We will have to wait and see what happens next.

Uber, for its part, has run into a bit of a snag recently. One of its self-driving vehicles ran into a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona, and killed them. As a result, Uber has halted its self-driving tests in every state it was running them. There was no word at the time when Uber was going to restart those tests.

Our Take

It is going to be interesting to see where Apple goes with these self-driving tests. The safe get is that the company is focusing on software, and its quick expansion of its feet would certainly suggest it is speeding up the whole process. Will we get to see what that is turning into this year? Probably not. But whenever it does happen, it should be pretty exciting.

[via FT]