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
61 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
61 months ago
Another portrait videographer. Fail.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
coolfactor Avatar
61 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
61 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
61 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
61 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)

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Mock pill and hole thumb

ProMotion Now Expected to Remain Exclusive to iPhone 14 Pro Models, Not Expand to Entire Lineup

Sunday January 16, 2022 8:56 am PST by
Continuing the tradition set with the iPhone 13 Pro, only the highest-end iPhone 14 models will feature Apple's ProMotion display technology, according to a respected display analyst. Ross Young, who on multiple occasions has detailed accurate information about Apple's future products, said in a tweet that ProMotion will not be expanded to the entire iPhone 14 lineup and will remain...
safari icon blue banner

Safari Bug Allows Websites to Track Your Recent Browsing Activity in Real Time [Updated]

Sunday January 16, 2022 3:37 pm PST by
A bug in WebKit's implementation of a JavaScript API called IndexedDB can reveal your recent browsing history and even your identity, according to a blog post shared on Friday by browser fingerprinting service FingerprintJS. In a nutshell, the bug allows any website that uses IndexedDB to access the names of IndexedDB databases generated by other websites during a user's browsing session....
ipad air 4 video

New iPad Air Rumored to Launch This Spring With A15 Chip, 5G, Center Stage Camera, and More

Saturday January 15, 2022 8:05 pm PST by
Apple is planning to release a fifth-generation iPad Air with similar features as the sixth-generation iPad mini, including an A15 Bionic chip, 12-megapixel Ultra Wide front camera with Center Stage support, 5G for cellular models, and Quad-LED True Tone flash, according to Japanese blog Mac Otakara. Citing reliables sources in China, the report claims that the new iPad Air could be...
Unlikely Products 2022 Feature

Six Rumored Apple Products You're Unlikely to See This Year

Saturday January 15, 2022 2:06 pm PST by
Much has been said about what consumers could see from Apple in 2022, but the company is also working on a handful of rumored products that aren't expected to be unveiled for at least another 12 months, and in some cases a lot longer. Of course, that's assuming they get released at all. Apple works on many potential products some of which ultimately never see the light of day. With that in...
AirPods Pro Gen 3 Mock Feature Red

AirPods Pro 2 Could Start a New Accessory Ecosystem

Friday January 14, 2022 2:34 am PST by
Apple's second-generation AirPods Pro could arrive alongside a new series of accessories, recent leaked images suggest. Alleged leaked photos of the next-generation AirPods Pro obtained by MacRumors showed a charging case with a metal loop on the side for attaching a strap. Apple has not used this design for any of its other AirPod models and it is unclear why it would be added in this...
netflix2

Netflix Again Raises Prices for All Plans, 4K Streaming Now $20 Per Month

Friday January 14, 2022 12:46 pm PST by
Netflix today updated the prices for its streaming plans, and all of its offerings are now more expensive. The Basic plan is now priced at $9.99 per month, the Standard plan is priced at $15.49 per month, and the Premium plan is priced at $19.99 per month. The Basic plan is $1 more expensive, up from $8.99 per month. This plan allows users to watch on just one screen at a time, and it limits ...
tesla carplay solution

Developer Showcases Apple CarPlay Workaround for Teslas

Monday January 17, 2022 7:24 am PST by
A Tesla Model 3 owner has resorted to a workaround to implement Apple CarPlay in his vehicle, amid no sign of official support from Tesla (via Tesla North). Apple CarPlay and Apple Music support are among the most-requested Tesla features, but with no indication that Tesla is willing to implement Apple CarPlay in its vehicles, Polish developer Michał Gapiński took matters into his own...
top stories 20220115

Top Stories: iPhone 14 Pro Rumors, iCloud Private Relay Controversy, iOS 15.2.1 Released, and More

Saturday January 15, 2022 6:00 am PST by
Hole-punch? Pill? Hole-punch and pill? Rumors about what the front camera system on the iPhone 14 Pro will look like are evolving rapidly, and it now appears we might be getting a novel but potentially controversial design later this year. Other major stories this week included some confusion and controversy about iCloud Private Relay being disabled for some T-Mobile customers, increasing...