Apple handed self-driving test permit

Apple already began branching into the vehicle business with their in-dash Carplay technology, that seamlessly integrates an iPhone into the car's entertainment system.

The first element that proves Apple has resumed its secret auto project is that the company's name was added to the list of companies with Autonomous Vehicle Testing Permits on the Department of Motor Vehicles website in California today.

On Friday, California Department of Motor Vehicles made the news public and the agency said Apple has been given permission to test three cars manufactured by Lexus.

We should discover more about it, as the permit needs public reporting of crashes involving the test vehicles and how frequently they need human intervention.

Apple declined to comment on the California permit or on its broader automotive plans, instead referring to a statement in December, when it submitted comments about autonomous vehicle technology to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Apple is set to debut a self-driving auto.

Likely, Apple is working to create the "Apple experience" in self-driving cars, Moorhead said. Some of the new hires came from companies such as Ford and Tesla, who are also researching self-driving technology.

The storm of speculation that arose with the first rumors of Apple's "Project Titan" has over the past year centered on whether Apple is in fact building a full vehicle, or, as some reports have suggested, merely building the software that controls the sensors and self-driving functions in the auto.

Kenner said in his letter that the iPhone maker was "investing heavily" in the study of automation and machine learning, and it was excited about the potential of automated systems in a variety of areas including transportation.

"Whether Apple is actively testing autonomous vehicles, though, remains to be seen".

Electric-car manufacturer Tesla started test-driving automated cars in California late a year ago.

For years, annual iPhone rumors have been forced to compete with similarly hyped whisperings regarding the possibility of an Apple self-driving auto. Apple executives have never spoken at length about the company's effort in the space, but a number of leaks provide a glimpse at what the company is up to.

The thing is, the permit is for the cars themselves, but actually applies to the technology behind the self-driving capability of those cars.

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