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

As it is now reported, Apple became the 30 company to be granted a self-driving vehicle testing permit. Recent reporting suggests that the company is no longer attempting to build its own autonomous, electric vehicle to compete with companies like Tesla, but is instead focused on developing self-driving software it can deploy in partnership with existing carmakers. It is rumored that over 1,000 employees are now working on " Project Titan" at their main and satellite offices.

Late last month, UCAR, the Chinese version of Uber, sued four of its former engineers involved with its autonomous driving division, accusing them of taking proprietary secrets and starting their own company. So, why do they need a permit for testing?

Apple is one of the most important players in smartphone technology. The company also has a team in Canada working on a vehicle operating system that would power the platform, people familiar with the matter have said.

To date, the tech giant has been infuriatingly secretive about it's efforts to build a self-driving vehicle, code named Project Titan.

Apple's competitors have already been testing autonomous vehicles.

Apple declined to comment on the California permit or on its broader automotive plans, instead referring to a statement released in December past year, when it submitted comments about autonomous vehicle technology to the US National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

Apple executives have been coy about their interest in cars.

"Apple is investing heavily in machine learning and autonomous systems", the company said then.

Apple was added to the growing list of companies that have gained permission from the California DMV to test out self-driving vehicles in the Golden state.

Among the list of permitted companies is also ride-sharing company Uber, who carried out autonomous testing without a permit in California previous year.

For years, annual iPhone rumors have been forced to compete with similarly hyped whisperings regarding the possibility of an Apple self-driving auto. It is also working on Apple integration into vehicle infotainment systems. That's the same plan as Waymo, the Alphabet subsidiary spun out of Google's Project X. In November, Apple was reportedly using its various engineers to make the Siri-controlled carOS heads-up display a reality. Again, the letter to NHTSA still hinted that Apple is still committed to the project. California law requires people to be in a self-driving auto who can take over if something goes wrong.

  • Terrell Bush