Apple is getting serious about self-driving cars

Apple has developed an "Automated System" for self driving vehicles and is planning to put select staffers through a training program to operate the vehicles.

Apple recently obtained a permit from the California DMV that will allow it to test self-driving vehicles on public roads, and as part of that process, the company appears to be training employees to use whatever system it's testing.

Apple's drivers are put through their paces before being allowed to gain access to a self-driving vehicle.

According to the training packet, Apple's self-driving vehicle uses a Logitech wheel and pedals to actuate drive by wire, and it supports one person at a time.

The internal documents detail Apple's "Development Platform Specific Training" and a new self-driving auto system called "Apple Automated System". Driver proficiency with identifying the need to take over, as well as their actual ability to take action, are then tested using seven different tests, which is Apple's way of fulfilling a requirement dictated by California law that safety drivers be tested prior to deploying test vehicles on the road. Each person has two practice runs and three trials to pass through each evaluation.

The document itself details technology used by drivers including Logitech hardware and basic driving maneuvers like tight u-turns and sudden braking or acceleration. The document also highlights that the development platform is controlled electronically by a joystick and safety drivers should be ready to take control of the system.

A DMV document has some new details on Apple's rumored self-driving vehicle program. Apple's drivers who are named in the application, are mostly Ph.Ds specializing in machine learning.

Apple's work in the auto industry has been something of an open secret for the past three years.

  • Joey Payne