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Where Once There Was Three- Apple’s Self-Driving Fleet Grows

Apple has again added to its fleet of self-driving vehicles being tested on California’s public roads. Although manufacturing no vehicles of their own, Apple appears to be well-committed to the business as the company has yet again expanded their permit in the autonomous test program.

Starting Slow

While registering only three vehicles in 2017, Apple has been building its self-driving fleet steadily ever since. First jumping from three to 45 cars between April 2017 and March 2018, the latest totals of 55 vehicles has driven the popular multinational tech giant to number two in what appears to be an increasingly competitive future market. In fact, of the entire 409 self-driving cars currently registered for testing in California, only GM Cruise has more. But Apple and Cruise aren’t the only ones in this game.

More Cars, Less Drivers

While Apple is second in number of vehicles, drivers testing self-autonomous vehicles under the permit is a different story. According to the latest figures, GM Cruise’s 407 drivers and Waymo’s 338 account for more than 47 percent of all the state’s 1573 test drivers. Apple is fourth, with a respectable 83 drivers or 1.5 drivers per vehicle in the program.

Who Else Is In The Game?

Some of the big players are names you expect to see. The GM Cruise alliance received their permit to test self-driving technology in California way back in June of 2015. Since then, it has put 104 vehicles on the road with 407 drivers. Despite being a GM asset, Cruise remains responsible for both technology and commercialization, which appears an advantage thus far.

Also big on the self-driving scene, Tesla has 39 vehicles and 92 drivers. “A technology company and independent automaker aimed at offering electric cars at prices affordable to the average consumer,” Tesla was founded in 2003 by, among others, Elon Musk.

Waymo has been blazing trails in the self-driving technology market since it began as a Google project in 2009. Now a stand-alone subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., Waymo boasts more than 5 million miles of public road testing in six states. The company currently has 51 vehicles and 338 drivers registered under their California DMV permit.

Drive.Ai, Zoox Inc., NIO USA and Toyota Research Institute all have vehicles and drivers testing self-autonomy on California public roads as well.

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