Apple gets permit to test self-drive cars in California

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Apple is the latest addition to a list of 30 entities that have received an autonomous vehicle testing permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles. The Cupertino, California-based company started developing a self-driving vehicle to take on Google and Tesla a few years ago before it pulled back and focused on first developing underlying autonomous technology last year, Bloomberg News has reported. As Business Insider reports, the company has secured a permit to test self-driving cars in Cupertino, suggesting that some sort of pivot to automotive technology is on the way.

Most major manufacturers, but also many technological groups are now working on autonomous vehicles, considered with the electric as the future of the automobile, with first series productions promised around 2020. Apple will apparently test a software and sensor sensor system installed in three test vehicles-all 2015 Lexus SUVs.

Rumours about Apple's vehicle ambitions have ranged from speculation it was building its own auto to the suggestion it was instead focusing more on in-car software. At last, the company's secretive efforts was crowned by the success. Apple is set to debut a self-driving auto.

"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", Kenner wrote at the time.

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Now that it has its permit, the company appears poised to begin testing its software on public roads in California.

The DMV has granted dozens of companies the rights to operate self-driving cars in California.

Among the list of permitted companies is also ride-sharing company Uber, who carried out autonomous testing without a permit in California a year ago. The permit covers six people who will be required to sit inside the test vehicles during the testing. Its interest in autonomous vehicle technology, however, has always been clear.

According to the DMV, disengagements occur "when a failure of the autonomous technology is detected" or "when the safe operation of the vehicle requires that the autonomous vehicle test driver disengage the autonomous mode and take immediate manual control of the vehicle".

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