Apple self-driving car testing plan gives clues to tech program

Local Motors Olli is a shuttle that uses IBM Watson as a human interface to give personality to the vehicle

Local Motors Olli is a shuttle that uses IBM Watson as a human interface to give personality to the vehicle

Driver proficiency with identifying the need to take over, as well as their actual ability to take action, are then tested using seven different tests, which is Apple's way of fulfilling a requirement dictated by California law that safety drivers be tested prior to deploying test vehicles on the road.

It was back in September that Apple reportedly "repositioned its focus", shifting from production of a fully autonomous auto to just the self-driving technology itself.

Last week, Apple was granted a permit by the California Department of Motor Vehicles to officially test autonomous driving technology - at the time the clearest sign yet that Apple was interested in the burgeoning field.

They also reveal that Apple staffers must be fully trained in how to override the automated system and take manual control of the vehicle.

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While we all know Apple as the maker of iPhones, iPad and super-thin MacBook's, the Cupertino company has plans for their own autonomous self-driving auto in the making. The image above was part of the documents and describes how the setup includes the use of a Logitech wheel and pedals to actuate drive by wire.

Trials include scenarios like Low Speed Driving, High Speed Driving, Tight U-Turn, Sudden Braking, and Sudden Acceleration. AAPL permit covers three Lexus RX450h 2015. Apple's drivers, named in the application, are mostly Ph.D.s specializing in machine learning, some of whom previously worked for companies like Bosch and Tesla, according to their LinkedIn profiles.

Though Apple's plans to develop and manufacture a branded vehicle may now be on hold, the company's plans to research and develop self-driving auto technologies appears to be moving forward.

The permit does not necessarily mean that Apple itself is building a full auto.