Apple to begin testing self-driving car tech in California

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Few details have been revealed about Apple's plans for self-driving cars, according to Autotrader executive analyst Michelle Krebs.

Apple confirmed its arrival in the self-driving vehicle market, but wouldn't discuss its intentions.

KîtGuru Says: Autonomous vehicles still have a barrage of legislation to overcome until other States in the U.S. begin to open up their roads. "There are many potential applications for these technologies, including the future of transportation, so we want to work with NHTSA to help define the best practices for the industry".

While Apple has never formally announced plans to release a self-driving vehicle, the company's efforts have attracted major attention - as future Apple products often do. Uber has also said that it will seek certification for testing. Apple has become the 30th company to be granted a testing permit. The dry spell has raised doubts as to whether Apple lost some of its trend-setting magic with the death of co-founder Steve Jobs in 2011. While Apple may have scaled back its research and development efforts with respect to developing and manufacturing its own auto - a herculean goal to say the least - it appears that the company is still interested in developing proprietary self-driving software.

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Companies that have been issued permits also include Alphabet Inc's Google unit, Ford Motor Co, Volkswagen AG, Daimler AG, Tesla Motors Inc and General Motors Co. The California DMV released proposed rules for self-driving cars in March, clearing the way for cars with an empty driver's seat to operate on state roads by year's end.

Apple is expected to assess the progress it has made on self-driving cars at the end of this year, according to Bloomberg. But it has often been a follower in markets that it eventually revolutionized.

It's unclear what form Apple's interest in self-driving technology will take. Neither Apple nor Tesla has given any inkling that they're interested in joining forces, though.

"This does confirm what's always been rumored: that Apple is at least toying with the idea of getting into the autonomous game in some capacity", said Chris Theodore, president of consulting firm Theodore & Associates, and a former vice president and engineer at Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler. Apple never confirmed the existence of Titan, which is now believed to be dead.

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