Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
IT&Software | By Alfonso Woods

Apple's self-driving test fleet grows to 55 vehicles

Apple's self-driving test fleet grows to 55 vehicles

Currently, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has provided permits to 53 companies for self-driving cars that include safety drivers, resulting in a total of 409 vehicles and 1,573 safety drivers in the US. Since obtaining a permit to test autonomous vehicles, Apple's fleet size has steadily risen - from a scant three test cars, to 27 in January, and now, 55 intelligent machines. Uber previously operated a sizable fleet of self-driving cars in California, but its testing program has been suspended in the wake of a fatal crash in Arizona.

The company is believed to have shifted focus to creating autonomous auto technology after its plan to build an entire vehicle suffered technical delays, employee departures, and poor focus. The next step, of course, is to test these sensor-equipped vehicles without drivers.

Apple still lags far behind General Motor's Cruise division, which leads the pack with 104 vehicles.

It's important to note that companies like Waymo and Uber used to have more self-driving cars in California. Tesla, touted for its advanced "Autopilot" mode, has only 39 self-driving cars in the state. It does not appear on the May 9 list seen by Business Insider.

Apple's mysterious fleet is perhaps one of the biggest secrets the company has held, and the company has yet to confirm this new report. "It's probably one of the most hard AI projects actually to work on", Cook said last summer. The DMV also revealed that a second unnamed company had requested approval to begin driverless testing, but hasn't parted with any additional details. Waymo applied for that permit.

Like this: