Apple is Making a Driverless Push
Apple is a notoriously tight lipped company when it comes to future plans.
Tim Cook in the past has hinted at the company's driverless ambitions, but no clear plan has ever been revealed. But it is Apple, and if they set out to do something, chances are they will do it well. It appears that the company is ramping up its plans and now has more driverless vehicles on the road than Waymo.
According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, Apple has 55 self-driving car permits and 83 drivers licensed to test the cars. To put that in perspective, here is how some of the other companies stack up:
Waymo has 51 self-driving car permits and 338 drivers.
Tesla has 39 vehicles permitted and 92 drivers.
General Motors’ Cruise has 104 vehicles and 407 drivers, the most of any company
Toyota Research Institute has 11 vehicles and 16 drivers
It is clear this is not just a side project and one that Apple is clearly putting more resources into. Apple's first three permits were issued about a year ago in April 2017. Now they have more testing vechicles than all other companies other than one, GM Cruise.
Last July, CEO Tim Cook said that Apple is currently “focusing on autonomous systems,” which seems to be much different than building an Apple car. There still remains some mystery around exactly what Apple is building. With that, there have been some sightings of the vehicles on the streets of California.
I saw one of these a few weeks ago pull up to an Apple shuttle stop-sit there for a few then drove off. pic.twitter.com/gUudZY1TIA— idiggapple (@idiggapple) October 18, 2017
One final interesting note, California requires that any company operating an autonomous vehicle notify the DMV when there is an accident involving the vehicle. As expected, GM Cruise has the most accidents reported and actually has more than half of the reported 66 accidents. It makes sense they have the most as they have the most vehicles and drivers on the road. One notable company not listed on the list of accidents, Apple - who has the second most vehicles and drivers. We don't know exactly what they are building or the progress they are making, but it is a safe assumption that when we do, it will be a product that competitors will need to keep a very close eye on.
Image credit: Alexandr Bormotin