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Apple gains approval to test self-driving car software in California

By Cookie Monster - on 16 Apr 2017, 12:00am

Apple gains approval to test self-driving car software in California

Image source: Apple

We got the clearest and biggest evidence yet that the iPhone maker will be going into this industry in the near future. 

Bloomberg reports that the California Department of Motor Vehicles has granted Apple the approval for testing its autonomous driving technology on public roads. The trials of self-driving technology will begin soon with existing vehicles listed in the permit. They are three 2015 Lexus RX450h SUVs, and six drivers. 

Apple has been rumored to be working on a self-driving car or self-driving car technology for some time. Two years ago, mysterious Apple-leased vehicles were spotted roaming the streets of North California. In January 2016, Apple registered three top-level domain names: apple.car, apple.cars, and apple.auto. A senior Ford executive shared that he believes Apple has what it takes to succeed in the automobile industry. 

The purported leader for the smart car project, Steve Zadesky, left Apple after working there for 16 years. In April 2016, German publication Frankfurter Allgemeine claimed that Apple was working with Austrian-based automotive manufacturer Magna to build the Apple Car. In the same month, Apple hired former Telsa VP and Aston Martin Chief Engineer Chris Porritt to work on "special projects".

In May last year, the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple was seeking 800,000 square feet of property for its smart car project and expanding the team. In the same month as well, Apple invested US$1 billion in Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing "for a number of strategic reasons". Apple was also reportedly researching methods to charge electric cars.

Source: Bloomberg