On Friday, California's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) updated its website to reflect that Apple now has a permit to test self-driving cars on public roads.
On Friday, the California Department of Motor Vehicles provided tantalizing confirmation that not only is Apple working on automotive technology, it also has plans for autonomous vehicles.
The self-driving vehicle segment is among the most bitterly contested areas in emerging technology, with Apple joining 29 other companies that have received test permits in California alone. It also means that Apple will have to report accidents and disengagements of autonomous driving modes, which will also be made public by the state.
The update on the California DMV website confirms that after years of speculation, Apple is serious about building self-driving vehicle software.
Late previous year, Apple submitted a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in which it said that it was "investing heavily in the study of machine learning and automation, and is excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation". The company also has a team in Canada working on a auto operating system that would power the platform, people familiar with the matter have said.
If writing a letter to the NHTSA isn't a clear enough sign of the company's intent, then perhaps this latest development of having their name listed as the 30 company to test autonomous vehicles in the sunny state should be enough proof.
Apple CEO Tim Cook once responded to a reporter that "It's going to be Christmas Eve for a while". "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", the company said in the comments. Apple has never officially announced it is working on autonomous vehicle tech, despite an overwhelming amount of circumstantial evidence.
This is presumably for Project Titan, the on-again, off-again self-driving vehicle that has been in the works for several years. This news alone quells one rumor: that Apple was designing its own auto. The list includes major automakers, including Ford, General Motors, BMW, Volkswagen and Tesla, as well as one of its biggest rivals in technology, Google, whose testing of self-driving cars has been spun off into an affiliate called Waymo.
Apple's foray into the technology, reportedly nicknamed Project Titan, is rumored to have been on the ropes, with many insiders in Silicon Valley speculating the company is more interested in developing software that can be used in association with already established carmakers rather than developing the cars itself.