Apple Continues to Expand Self-Driving Car Fleet

Apple continues to expand the number of self-driving vehicles it is testing on the streets of Northern California, according to new numbers sourced from the California DMV (via macReports).

Apple has 55 vehicles out on the road driven by a total of 83 drivers, up from the 45 vehicle permits the company possessed in March. Since last April, Apple has been steadily adding new vehicles to its fleet, all of which are equipped with the autonomous driving software that Apple is developing.


For its software testing, Apple uses Lexus RX450h sports utility vehicles outfitted with advanced LIDAR equipment and an array of cameras. While California now allows for fully autonomous driverless vehicles to be tested on public roads, Apple does not yet possess those permits and all of its vehicles have safety drivers inside.

Rumors of Apple's work in the vehicle space first surfaced in 2015 as the company hired thousands of automotive experts and explored the possibility of a full Apple-designed electric vehicle. Those plans did not pan out, and in 2016, longtime Apple executive Bob Mansfield took over the automotive team and Apple refocused its efforts not on a car, but on self-driving car software.

At the time of the pivot, Apple executives allegedly gave the automotive team until 2017 to "prove the feasibility" of a self-driving car system, and given the continued expansion of Apple's self-driving car fleet, it seems the company has decided to progress with development.

It is not yet clear what Apple plans to do with the self-driving car software when finished, but the company could partner with other car manufacturers or eventually return to development on its own vehicle. It's also possible that some of the features that are being worked on could be introduced in future more advanced versions of CarPlay.

Some rumors have suggested augmented reality aspects could be included in the software that Apple is developing, such as a heads-up display that would provide standard driving details along with data from apps like Maps.

Because of the need to submit public information to the DMV, Apple has not been able to keep its work on autonomous driving software under wraps as it does with most of its product development. Tim Cook in June of 2017 even confirmed Apple's work on autonomous software, a rare move for the normally tight-lipped CEO. "It's a core technology that we view as very important," he said. "We sort of see it as the mother of all AI projects. It's probably one of the most difficult AI projects to actually work on."

Related Roundup: Apple Car

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
25 months ago
Heres the Apple car in action

"Hey Siri drive me over to the Mayo Clinic"
"Here are 47 grocery stores that sell mayonnaise, taking you there now"

'Hey Siri drive me to Erin's house"
"I'm sorry I don't see Aaron in your contacts"

"Hey Siri drive me over to the Apple Store"
"Apple.com has great resources for that"

"Hey Siri drive me to Fashion Square mall"
"Searching the web for "drive me to fashion square mall""

Can't wait for the future. Sounds like it'll be fun.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
25 months ago
Bryan Chaffin, who writes for the Mac Observer website, says there’s a reason Apple management is being so aggressive with the stock buybacks and he doesn’t think it’s about incremental changes to services revenue. He thinks something big will be coming from Apple in the next couple years that management feels will be a significant growth driver. I’m wondering if it’s something health related like non-invasive glucose monitoring or something to do with the car project.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
25 months ago

I picked up my self driving car last week.

No, you don't. You have a package of driving aids.

This Tesla driver thought he had a self-driving car:
https://www.sciencealert.com/tesla-owner-banned-after-being-filmed-relaxing-in-passenger-seat-on-freeway-model-s-autopilot

I know Musk publicly says it is a fully self-driving car and Tesla marketing shows hands-off driving in their video, but then when there is a crash and Musk testifies, his tune is 100% opposite and he says it is a hands-on system. He's basically saying one thing when selling the car, with people like you repeating it, and then something completely else when a customer is caught doing exactly what he said can be done.

When we really have self-driving cars, people who are blind, are too old, are too young, are drunk, have lost their license, or simply cannot pass the driving test will be able to have cars. The only humans in taxis, Uber, and Lyft will be passengers. Semi trucks will have no humans in them at all. And even those who can legally and appropriately drive would be able to take a nap, watch TV, or work on their laptop instead of driving.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
25 months ago

I'm not holding my breath on this "prediction."

Who knows but companies typically buy back stock when they feel the stock is undervalued. Apple is accelerating the pace of their buyback program. I do think they have something cooking the health space that we will see in 2019 or 2020.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
25 months ago

Apple and Buffett definitiely see it that way and are backing it up with $150B and counting.

That's if they don't mess up to bad. A large part of the markets are also perception/speculation. And, with Apple transitioning from a quality product company to a fashion/services/consumer-electronics company, things could go wrong much more easily.

Apple cars probably have the AI of Siri :/

LOL, no kidding. Look at the state of all the AI for virtual assistants, social media moderation, etc. and then ask yourself... do I want that driving around on the road with thousands of pounds of steel?

There is a canyon-like gap between the public/media perception and reality, here.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
25 months ago
Cant wait to read all the fanboy excuses when the iCar starts running people over and causing accidents.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Leaker Claims New 13-inch MacBook Pro Coming as Soon as Next Month

Monday April 6, 2020 2:56 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Apple will announce a new 13-inch MacBook Pro in May with the codename J223, according to a rumor shared by YouTuber and leaker Jon Prosser. Note: it’s a refresh to the current 13” So the bigger 14” display upgrade is a big possibility— Jon Prosser (@jon_prosser) April 4, 2020 Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said Apple plans to release new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models with scissor keyboards ...

iOS 14 Could Offer Home Screen Widgets, Wallpaper Customizations

Saturday April 4, 2020 3:30 pm PDT by Frank McShan
iOS 14 could offer home screen widgets and wallpaper customizations for the first time, according to 9to5Mac and Twitter user DongleBookPro. Apple is reportedly working to implement widgets that can be moved freely around like icons on the iPhone and iPad homescreen for the very first time. The feature is reportedly codenamed "Avocado" and no other details are available. It was also...

'Leaked' Images Allegedly Show iPhone 12 With Smaller Notch, Rear Camera Redesign, and Home Screen Widgets

Tuesday April 7, 2020 4:28 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Two images shared on social media this morning are currently stoking speculation about possible hardware redesigns coming to the iPhone 12 and the potential introduction of Home screen widgets in iOS 14. Shared by Twitter user Fudge (choco_bit), the images depict a front and rear graphical representation of a smartphone with interface elements on the screen, suggesting it came out of a...

More References to Apple's Upcoming Low-Cost iPhone Appear Online

Monday April 6, 2020 4:38 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Further references to Apple's upcoming low-cost iPhone have appeared online, one on a Chinese e-commerce website and another on Verizon's smartphone trade-in page. Spotted by tech blog MySmartPrice, Chinese retailer JD.com has published a placeholder for Apple's so-called "iPhone 9" that includes a teaser image of a veiled smartphone, but other than that it lacks any particularly revealing...

The New York Times, IFTTT, Medium, and Other Apps Adopt Sign in With Apple Ahead of June 30 Deadline

Sunday April 5, 2020 7:08 pm PDT by Frank McShan
Apps with sign-in functionality, including The New York Times, IFTTT, Medium, and more, have continued to adopt Apple's secure Sign in with Apple feature ahead of a deadline of June 30. The deadline for these apps to support the feature was recently extended from April 30. Sign in with Apple, first introduced in iOS 13, allows users to create accounts for apps and websites using an Apple ID. ...

Some Users Experiencing System Crashes on macOS 10.15.4, Especially During Large File Transfers

Monday April 6, 2020 8:17 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
A sizeable number of Mac users are experiencing occasional system crashes after updating to macOS Catalina version 10.15.4, released a few weeks ago. The crashing issue appears to be most prominent when users attempt to make large file transfers. In a forum post, SoftRAID described the issue as a bug and said that it is working with Apple engineers on a fix for macOS 10.15.5, or a...

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 13.4.1 With Fix for FaceTime Bug

Tuesday April 7, 2020 10:06 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 13.4.1, minor updates that come two weeks after the release of iOS and iPadOS 13.4, major updates that introduced iCloud Folder Sharing, a new Mail toolbar, trackpad support for the iPad, and more. The iOS and ‌iPadOS‌ 13.4.1 updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the updates, go to Settings > General...

Top Stories: Apple Leaks iPhone SE and AirTags, Apple Buys Dark Sky, and More

Saturday April 4, 2020 6:00 am PDT by MacRumors Staff
With the calendar rolling over to April this week, we yet again saw several leaks and rumors, most notably including Apple itself leaking some references to a pair of long-rumored products: a new budget iPhone SE and AirTags item trackers. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Apple also acquired popular weather app Dark Sky, while Amazon's Prime Video app now allows...

Apple Reportedly Targeting WWDC for Over-Ear Headphones Launch, New 'AirPods X' Later in the Year

Tuesday April 7, 2020 7:00 am PDT by Eric Slivka
Rumors of Apple-branded over-ear headphones have been circulating for quite some time, while more recent rumors have mentioned an "AirPods Pro Lite" that could also be in the works, and Twitter leaker Jon Prosser's recent foray into Apple rumors provides a bit more detail on what we might able to expect for these products. Current Beats Studio3 Wireless and BeatsX On the over-ear side,...

Apple Donating Over 20 Million Masks to Healthcare Professionals, Producing Face Shields With Suppliers

Sunday April 5, 2020 2:51 pm PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple CEO Tim Cook today shared a video message with an update on the company's response to the ongoing pandemic. Cook said Apple has now sourced over 20 million masks that it is in the process of donating to healthcare professionals around the world. Apple is working with governments to ensure that the masks are donated to the places of greatest need. Cook added that Apple's design,...