Apple's Self-Driving Car Spotted on Freeway in New Video

For the last few weeks, Apple has been testing its autonomous driving software in three Lexus RX450h SUVs, which have been photographed around the San Francisco Bay Area. This morning, MacRumors reader Andrew was able to capture some video of one of the SUVs, giving us our closest look yet at the vehicles Apple is using to test its system.

The SUV is equipped with multiple sensors and cameras, making it easy to see when it's out on the road. It uses a top-end Velodyne 64-channel lidar, two or more radar, and several cameras to navigate. The video was captured on the 101 North, with Apple's vehicle exiting towards University Avenue in Palo Alto.


Apple received a DMV permit to test autonomous vehicles on April 14 and wasted no time getting the cars out on the road. With the SUVs, which are driven by six Apple employees with expertise in autonomous vehicles, Apple is testing a self-driving vehicle system it has in development.

The company has been working on self-driving car technology for several years and was originally rumored to be planning to introduce its own Apple-branded vehicle. That didn't pan out, however, and Apple pivoted to an autonomous driving software platform being developed under the leadership of Bob Mansfield.

Apple has reportedly given its car team until the end of 2017 to prove the feasibility of an Apple-designed autonomous driving system. Such a system could allow Apple to partner with vehicle manufacturers for something akin to a much more advanced version of CarPlay, or it could be built into a future Apple vehicle should Apple decide to revisit manufacturing its own car down the road.

While Apple is notoriously secretive, its ongoing autonomous car testing will be done under the public eye. In California, companies that participate in the Autonomous Vehicle Testing Program must file Disengagement Reports that share many details on the testing process, including miles traveled and any incidents or accidents that occur.

Apple has asked the DMV to alter the rules that govern exactly what data needs to be included in public Disengagement Reports, but it is not yet known if the DMV will comply.

Related Roundup: Apple Car

Top Rated Comments

tennisproha Avatar
52 months ago
Way to be filming while driving Macrumors reader Andrew. You're the reason we need self-driving cars in the first place.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
6836838 Avatar
52 months ago
Another portrait videographer. Fail.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
coolfactor Avatar
52 months ago
So many people (especially the news media) are making a big deal about self driving cars and that human drivers will soon become obsolete. Ever driven in the snow (cant' see the lines), how about pounding rain so heave the roads are partially flooded.

Yes being human does not mean you are necessarily a responsible driver, there are plenty of rotten human drivers, but I think we have a very long way to go before self driving cars can truly replace humans. Too many people uunderestimate the computing power of the human brain and the incredibly complex software/hardware necessary to replicate human ability.
Nobody is questioning the power of the human brain, but intelligence is secondary to that. And then layer on factors like influence from drugs and alcohol and distractions. The human brain may be powerful, but the human can be very, very dumb.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gaximus Avatar
52 months ago
Another portrait videographer. Fail.
Exactly what I came to say. It would be nice if there was a setting that would just record landscape mode in portrait orientation, just lower the resolution.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
myrtlebee Avatar
52 months ago
Interesting. I was going to comment that I'm glad this isn't being tested on roads near me, but then I remembered how crazy humans drive here and that it would be so much safer if all cars were like this.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cwt2nospam Avatar
52 months ago
Wow. I would have thought that on a computer related forum people would be more aware of where the technology is and how soon it will get here.

Self driving cars are generally closer than most people think, not further away. The $35,000 Tesla Model 3, which is due to begin production in July (less than 6 weeks from now) will have all the hardware necessary for self driving. Yes, the software will add to the cost but that's sure to drop soon, and it's really more a matter of legal concerns to enable fully autonomous driving at this point.

As for mud and snow, that's part of why there are multiple sensors. Naturally, if visibility drops the car will need to slow down or stop, just as with a human driver, but most of the time the car will have better situation "awareness" than a human can.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

tracking disabled ios 14 5

Analytics Suggest 96% of Users Leave App Tracking Disabled in iOS 14.5

Friday May 7, 2021 1:51 am PDT by
An early look at an ongoing analysis of Apple's App Tracking Transparency suggests that the vast majority of iPhone users are leaving app tracking disabled since the feature went live on April 26 with the release of iOS 14.5. According to the latest data from analytics firm Flurry, just 4% of iPhone users in the U.S. have actively chosen to opt into app tracking after updating their device...
macbook colors 3d black bezels

Prosser: Next MacBook Air Could Come in Colors Similar to iMac

Friday May 7, 2021 6:55 am PDT by
According to Apple leaker Jon Prosser, Apple's upcoming release of the MacBook Air will feature various colors, similar to the colors in the newly released 24-inch iMac. In the latest video of his YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Prosser says the same source who accurately provided him information on the first Apple silicon iMac coming in colors has told him that he recently saw a prototype...
tile amazon sidewalk integration

Tile to Leverage Amazon Echo and Ring Devices to Better Compete With AirTags

Friday May 7, 2021 2:07 pm PDT by
Amazon today announced that it is teaming up with Tile to add Amazon Sidewalk integration to Tile's Bluetooth trackers. Amazon Sidewalk, for those unfamiliar, is a network of Amazon Bluetooth devices that's designed to improve the connectivity of devices like the Ring and Amazon Echo. Tile will now be joining Amazon Sidewalk, and through this integration, Amazon Echo and Ring devices will be ...
Top Stories 59 Feature

Top Stories: Epic Games vs. Apple, Hidden AirTag Mode, Apple Music Hi-Fi, Colorful MacBook Air?

Saturday May 8, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
While we wait for the newly introduced iMac, iPad Pro, and Apple TV models to launch later this month, this week saw the kickoff of the big Epic Games v. Apple trial, with lots of juicy tidbits coming out as the two sides make their arguments. This week also saw some rumors about a Hi-Fi tier for Apple Music, more biometric sensing capabilities for Apple Watch, and timing for the...
zoom app icon

Apple Gave Zoom Access to Special API to Use iPad Camera During Split View Multitasking

Sunday May 9, 2021 2:00 am PDT by
Zoom, a hallmark platform used by millions during the global health crisis, has been given access to a special iPadOS API that allows the app to use the iPad camera while the app is in use in Split View multitasking mode. This case of special treatment was first brought to attention by app developer Jeremy Provost, who, in a blog post, explains that Zoom uses a special API that allows the...
snapchat dark mode

Snapchat Rolls Out Dark Mode on iOS

Wednesday May 5, 2021 1:17 am PDT by
Nearly two years following the release of iOS and iPadOS 13, which included native, built-in, and systemwide dark mode, Snapchat, one of the world's most prominent social media networks, has finally rolled out a dark mode theme for iOS users. Snapchat began testing a dark mode theme of its app design late last year with a small group of iOS users. Now, Snapchat says that as of this week, it...
tile sticker e1570533758981

Tile CEO: 'We Welcome Competition From Apple, But We Think It Needs to Be Fair'

Tuesday May 4, 2021 9:51 am PDT by
Just after Apple announced its AirTags, Tile CEO CJ Prober relayed his concerns about competing with Apple in the tracking space, and said that Tile would ask Congress to investigate Apple's business practices specific to Find My and item trackers. Prober this week did an interview with Bloomberg, where he further expanded on Tile's complaints about Apple and why he feels that Tile is...
fortnite apple logo 2

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney Admits App Store's 30% Cut Is Similar to Consoles, Would Have Accepted Special Deal With Apple

Tuesday May 4, 2021 1:54 pm PDT by
Apple's legal battle with Epic Games is continuing on, and during the second day of the trial, Epic Games' CEO Tim Sweeney continued his testimony against Apple. Sweeney was grilled by Apple's lawyers, and made several points seemingly favorable to Apple. In addition to mentioning how he prefers Apple's iPhone and values Apple's privacy policies that he's aiming to dismantle, Sweeney...
signal instagram ads3

Signal Shares the Instagram Ads Facebook Doesn't Want You to See

Wednesday May 5, 2021 1:29 am PDT by
Encrypted messaging app Signal has had a series of Instagram ads blocked from the social media platform, after it attempted to show users how much data the Facebook-owned company collects about them and how it's used to push targeted ads. In a blog post, Signal described how it generated the ads to show users why they were seeing them, simply by declaring upfront the information that the...
iphone 12 preorder purple

Apple Begins Transition to Randomized Serial Numbers With Purple iPhone 12

Wednesday May 5, 2021 9:17 am PDT by
MacRumors previously reported about Apple's plan to switch to randomized serial numbers for future products starting in early 2021, and this transition has now started with the new purple iPhone 12 model in multiple countries. With assistance from Aaron Zollo, host of the YouTube channel ZolloTech, we can confirm that the purple iPhone 12 released last month has a new 10-character serial...