Published: Sun, April 23, 2017
Sci-tech | By Jose Becker

The iPhone of cars? Apple enters self-driving car race


According to Reuters, Apple has received its first permit to test its self-driving cars on public roads in California.

California requires all companies with autonomous vehicles to register before hitting the road.

Most major auto manufacturers and many technology groups are now developing autonomous vehicles, considered to be the future of the automobile, along with electric power, with first production models promised for around 2020.

According to Apple spokesperson, test drive should improve artificial intelligence systems that must learn the ways to interact with an unpredictability of human drivers.

Companies that have been issued permits also include Alphabet Inc's (GOOGL) Google unit, Ford, Volkswagen AG, Daimler AG, Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) and General Motors Co (GM). Google and Uber have them, and the latter also started testing self-driving cars with its Pittsburgh customers late previous year.

Despite the permit, it's still unclear what specific aspect Apple is working on.

Apple is pleased to provide the following comments on the proposed Federal Automated Vehicles Policy (Policy), published by the Department of Transportation and the National Highway TraSafety Administration (NHTSA).

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But with its permit, Apple is leaping into an increasingly competitive race to build the world's first mainstream self-driving auto.

Apple executives have been coy about their interest in cars. The company told The Associated Press that the permit will cover three types of vehicles and six individual drivers.

Apple will be vying against 29 other companies that already have California permits to test self-driving cars.

But it's weird, isn't it, that a computer company that has made forays into entertainment in the last decade and has also become a telecom giant with the iPhone now wants to be a self-driving auto company too?

However, on Friday the company appeared on the state's Department of Motor Vehicle's list of approved applicants to test autonomous vehicles.

This is not the first time Apple has leapt into the automotive space.

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