Apple Self-Driving Car Project is Alive

Apple's competitors have already been testing autonomous vehicles.

Apple confirmed that it will begin testing self-driving technology in the state, but provided no details.

On Friday, Apple (AAPL) received an official test permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles, seeming to confirm the rumors that the secretive company was working on a self-driving auto project.

No other information was provided by the DMV.

Late past year, 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".

The current permit allows Apple to test self-driving technology in three 2015 Lexus RX 450h luxury hybrid sport utility vehicles.

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According to reports, Apple will soon commence the testing of its self-driving vehicle software platform on public streets.

Similar research is being carried out by other automakers including Ford, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota, and by other groups including Uber and Google parent Alphabet.

All autonomous technology makers must apply for and be granted permission to test a vehicle on public roads from the DMV.

Although iPhone's ongoing popularity has helped Apple remain the world's most valuable company, the company hasn't had a breakthrough product since the 2010 debut of the iPad, now in the throes of a three-year sales slump. The permit covers six people who will be required to sit inside the test vehicles during the testing. Now out of nowhere there is proof that Apple is working on self-driving cars. Does this mean that Project Titan, which is Apple's possible move into the world of autonomous vehicles, will be able to persuade Tesla owners with Autopilot equipped vehicles to make the jump? Now, Apple sits on the list along with companies such as Ford and General Motors.

Companies that wish to test vehicles must provide evidence that they can train qualified employee drivers, can insure their cars and will be liable for any damage incurred during tests. The technology will be developed together with Bosch.

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