Apple to begin testing self-driving car tech in California

While Apple was initially thought to be working on a auto to bring to market in 2019, Project Titan boss Bob Mansfield allegedly told workers to focus on developing self-driving software over a fully-fledged vehicle.

Unearthed by Autonews, a recent update to the California Department of Motor Vehicles' website reveals Apple is the latest in a long line of automakers and technology firms to be given the green light to test autonomous vehicles.

Apple's state vehicle testing permit covers three vehicles, all of them 2015 Lexus RX540h, and six drivers, the California DMV said.

In applying for the DMV testing permit, Apple was not required to say what parts of the Lexus SUVs it had helped create.

My personal guess would be that Apple is working towards the development of complete self-driving vehicle tech + vehicle operating systems - in other words, towards development of Apple-branded self-driving vehicle operating systems and hardware. "These rules protect public safety, promote innovation and lay out the path for future testing and deployment of driverless technology". A shell company with the name "SixtyEight Research" has been deemed to be an innocent front, as throwing the name Apple into the mix would be way too obvious for the company's liking.

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Apple declined to comment and pointed to a previous statement that it is "investing heavily in machine learning and autonomous systems".

There's no guarantee that this means Apple is building an autonomous vehicle. Indeed, the last significant report on the matter came from the New York Tiimes a few months back.

The company has kept mum about their plans regarding their movement toward the automotive industry, but has kept a trail of breadcrumbs for people to follow. The company has added resources to the project - code-named Titan - over the last two years, but it has struggled to make progress.

Regardless, Apple is definitely up to something.

The project quickly became something of an open secret among technology-watchers, even if it was never truly clear what Apple was working on.