Previously we broke the news that apple has 55 autonomous vehicles testing in California, Apple’s segue into the autonomous vehicle business continues to boom as the company now has 62 vehicles and 87 drivers testing on public roads in the Golden State as of May 2018.
The numbers were released by California’s Department of Motor Vehicles, the governing body overseeing the testing process in the state. Currently, 423 vehicles are authorized for self-drive testing in California.
Apple Leading the Way
While the majority of manufacturers and companies with permits for self-autonomy in California did not see any great changes to their quantity numbers, Apple has soared ahead with another 7 self-drive cars, equating to half of the vehicles added to the entire program in a two-week period. Still, while the steady increases show leadership potential in the category, Apple’s end ambition remains unclear.
As has been their tradition, Apple remains publicly mum on what they plan to do with their self-autonomy technology, and even claimed this outright in a recent criminal complaint motion against a former engineer. “Apple has made general statements to the press about being interested in autonomous vehicle development,” the complaint stated, “but the details of Apple’s research and development for the Project is a closely guarded secret that has never been publicly revealed.”
And while they have not applied for any driverless car permits in California thus far, they have claimed that 3.7 percent of their staff are “disclosed on the project” with 2700 specifically considered “core employees.” Add to such numbers the fact that Detroit’s big-3 veteran Steve Kenner is now on staff and clearly a big part of this program, and it is not a leap to suggest that Apple has big plans. Still, such secrecy has only helped to fan the flames of hype and hysteria amongst tech fans, most notably those online.
Other Companies in The Mix
Still, while Apple, GM Cruise, Waymo and Tesla continue to dominate the numbers, there are far more companies getting their vehicles into the self-drive testing pot. Big car companies Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, Nissan, BMW, Honda, Ford, and Subaru are all testing anywhere from one to five self-drive vehicles in California. But car companies aren’t the only ones interested. Think well-known tech-champ Delphi or master of innovation Bosch or consumer product leader Samsung. But this is just a snippet: in all there are more than 50 companies actively participating with test vehicles in California alone.