Self-driving vehicles being testing in California continues to multiply and once again previously 66 cars, Apple’s test team is on the rise. While starting with only three vehicles back in 2017, Apple has swollen to 70 self-driving test cars approved under State DMV permit. In addition, there are now 139 drivers helping provide such testing.
Slowing Down but Certainly Not Stopping
While the growth rate for Apple’s test team seems a bit slower than in previous months, they are certainly still growing. Apple remains a solid third despite the fact other top permit holders are growing too. GM Cruise continues to dominate the field with a whopping 175 vehicles and 467 drivers permitted for testing.
While Waymo maintains number two status, their numbers have slowed too, with 88 cars and 415 drivers now registered. Tesla remained unchanged since the last DMV report. Overall, California now has 57 permit holders with a total of 556 test vehicles operated by 1917 drivers.
Apple’s Road to Road Autonomy
While Apple remains stereotypically hush on their end plans for self-driving technology, their comprehensive testing program and status as modern culture changers, leads many to widespread speculation, particularly of possible Apple car ambitions.
Yet, despite having larger test teams with more cars and drivers, Apple has yet to submit an application for a driverless testing permit, meaning that all testing must be done with a registered test driver in the vehicle.
Such protocols were happily in place last month when a Nissan Leaf EV going about 15 mph rear ended one of Apple’s test vehicles travelling a 1 mph. Thankfully no one was hurt, but the doomsayers automatically saw that red flags about safety firmly belong with further testing obviously necessary. Clearly with a fleet of 70, Apple concurs.