Apple adds 24 Lexus SUVs to growing self-driving vehicle fleet


It's a significant expansion for a company that has been seen as lagging in the race to build self-driving cars.

While it was long rumored that Apple is interested in developing a full-fledged vehicle, the company only seems to be working on self-driving auto technology that it might end up selling to conventional vehicle manufacturers.

In an e-mail sent to Bloomberg, the California DMV confirmed that Apple has registered 24 more Lexus RX 450h sport utility vehicles with the state. The recently registered vehicles are all Lexus RX450h SUVs. Back in June, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that Apple is "focusing on Autonomous Systems", describing the effort as the "mother all all AI projects". Traditional automakers like GM and Volkswagen are also adding more vehicles to their test fleets. Apple is believed to have shifted focus to creating autonomous auto technology after its plan to build an entire vehicle suffered technical delays, employee departures, and poor focus.

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As testing of its self-driving technology started in California, Apple could no longer deny the existence of Project Titan. In October 2017, the Apple self-driving auto technology was spotted in the streets of Silicon Valley in the form of an array of sensors and hardware on the roof of a Lexus SUV.

This means that Apple can now have 27 test vehicles out on roads in California as it continues to work on its self-driving auto technology. A month after, Apple published research that detailed a new software for improving obstacle detection for driverless vehicles.