Apple Seems to Be Upgrading Its Autonomous Car Project After a Drastic Cut

Apple Seems to Be Upgrading Its Autonomous Car Project After a Drastic Cut

Autonomous cars might be illegal in Australia (excluding South Australia with stringent rules surrounding testing), but over in the U.S., companies are pretty focused on fleshing the technology out. One such company, reportedly, is Apple, which seems to be throwing a little more weight behind the autonomous car project.

A report from MacReports (brought to our attention by 9to5mac) indicates that Apple has bumped up the number of drivers and cars used in its self-driving car project. Such numbers were offered by the California DMV to MacReports, and indicated that Apple was now conducting the project with 162 drivers and 68 test vehicles.

These numbers are up from MacReport’s findings in late November, which indicated that Apple had upped its vehicle count (it was operating with 66 cars), but reduced its driver count (152, down to 145). In May, Apple supposedly had 201 drivers operating the project, but numbers seemed to get cut drastically for the second time in the project’s history.

Keeping in mind that Apple’s approach to autonomous car testing may be a bit different to its competitors. Waymo, for example, has 664 drivers and 371 cars. Cruise, on the other hand, has 281 drivers and 1,015 cars.

And, as the MacReports article rightly points out, Apple still hasn’t formally applied for a self-driving car testing permit in the state of California – a prerequisite to test on public roads. Nuro, Waymo, and Mercedes-Benz all have licences, whereas Cruise lost its licence following a collision with a pedestrian. The CEO of Cruise later stepped down.

And why wouldn’t Apple want to take it slow, anyway? According to MacReports, 21 collisions have been reported for Apple test vehicles since the project kicked off. Considering the reasonable public safety implications of self-driving cars, along with worrying criticisms of the tech, this isn’t something that can be rushed. Although, with the Apple Vision Pro releasing in the U.S. soon, perhaps the company is changing gears. As reported by Patently Apple, the company also recently submitted a patent for a new airbag safety system, but it’s difficult to tell if this system will be used in current testing.

Image: Stock

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