Apple tripled testing of self-driving cars
(NewsNation) — A surge in the number of miles tested on California roads indicates Apple is intensifying its efforts in autonomous driving technology, with records showing a significant expansion in its fleet over the past year, The Washington Post reported.
Public records reveal that Apple, known for its highly secretive approach, has tripled the size of its fleet to 67 vehicles equipped with autonomous capabilities as of this summer. These cars, adorned with large, boxy sensors atop gold SUVs, were spotted navigating intersections and streets in the vicinity of the company’s headquarters.
Between December 2022 and November 2023, Apple’s cars covered over 450,000 miles in California, a stark increase from the previous year’s figures.
Despite Apple’s typically guarded nature, its foray into public testing reflects a bold move into a volatile industry plagued by regulatory scrutiny and technical challenges, according to The Post. Industry experts view this expansion as a vote of confidence in the potential of autonomous driving despite a tumultuous landscape characterized by accidents and legal battles.
While Apple’s progress may seem modest compared to industry front-runners like Waymo, owned by Alphabet Inc., the tech giant’s cautious approach aligns with reports suggesting a shift in focus from fully autonomous vehicles to driving-assistance features akin to those pioneered by Tesla.
Amidst the broader push towards autonomous technology, safety concerns loom large. Recent data from the California Department of Motor Vehicles highlights a surge in testing activity, with nearly two-thirds of the miles driven under human supervision. Incidents involving autonomous vehicles, such as Cruise’s widely publicized collision in San Francisco, underscore the challenges facing the industry.