Apple received today a license for testing autonomous cars on public roads in California. With that Apple becomes the 30th entity to have an official test license and confirms rumors that the company is developing autonomous driving technology. Some suspicious activities of Apple Map cars a few weeks ago already pointed to Apple’s increased activities. According to a spokesperson from the Californian DMV, Apple operates 3 Lexus RX450h – the same that Google used in its 2nd generation vehicles – with a total of six drivers. Could these be the vehicles that I spotted a few weeks ago in Palo Alto and San Francisco?
Beside the entities with official licenses there is also a number of companies that don’t, but still do tests in California. The state is on the forefront of autonomous cars, and even plans to allow self-driving cars without a human on board starting tests in November.
With that more than 150 autonomous cars are roaming public streets in California, with GM just announcing to add in the next days 300 more cars. Also Google-Waymo is expected to soon add another 100 cars.
Tesla also has shipped 50,000 cars that are equipped with the Autopilot Hardware Kit 2, which allows autonomous driving (at least from the hardware side). With an expected software update in the second half of 2017 or beginning of 2018, there will be 100,000 and more self-driving (Level 4) Tesla Model X, Model S, and Model 3 on the road, and that globally.