Apple CEO Tim Cook has already admitted that the company may look to move past simply iPhone integration in cars, hoping to rival other tech companies like Google, Delphi, and Uber, and traditional carmakers like Tesla, Ford, VW, in the battle for a fully-autonomous future.
Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy, said, "This [the permit] absolutely verifies that they are going to do something in this space".
In October, Timothy D. Cook, Apple's chief executive, told investors, "We are always looking at new things, and the vehicle space in general is an area that it's clear that there are a lot of technologies that will either become available or will be able to revolutionize the auto experience". The California Department of Motor Vehicles awarded Apple a permit to test autonomous vehicles Friday, April 14, 2017, and disclosed that information on its website.
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Now that it has its permit, the company appears poised to begin testing its software on public roads in California. The DMV's March 30 notice did not include Apple in the list of companies having gained approval.
"The company is investing heavily in the study of machine learning and automation, and is excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation", Kenner wrote. But it does indicate that the company is developing the underlying software or hardware related to autonomous driving technology.
Per Business Insider, Apple did not comment when asked if they are now "testing autonomous vehicles on public roads". It does, however, tell us Project Titan is still moving along. Besides Switzerland, Apple has also set up a secret research facility in Berlin to attract German talent and work on the self-driving auto.
What do you think about Apple getting into the driverless vehicle arena?