It may only be the start of apple season in many parts of North America, but it appears Apples are everywhere in California – at least as far as self-driving cars are concerned.
The company that brought us tablets, computers, smartphones and watches has continued to grow its testing fleet of self-autonomous vehicles in California, now boasting 66 vehicles as of July 2018 from the previous 62 and 111 drivers registered under their testing permit with the state’s DMV.
Slipping To Third
And while Apple has substantially grown its test team, other companies have been increasing their fleets too. GM Cruise continues its commanding lead with 117 self-drive vehicles, while Waymo, the now stand-alone subsidiary that began as a Google project, has taken second place in the state with 72 cars. Tesla remains a distant fourth with only 39 cars.
So, What Is Autonomous Driving?
What seemed to be a few company test cars has clearly blossomed into an ever-growing industry. The state has now approved 468 vehicles and 1677 drivers, managed through 56 different Autonomous Vehicle Testing Permit holders.
Currently, autonomous vehicles are defined as “vehicles capable of sensing its environment and moving with little or no human input.” Of course, this is only possible thanks to technology and it appears finding the right combination of radar, sonar, GPS, measurement tools, sensory systems and computer vision will make self-driving cars a reality.
But Why Self-Driving Cars?
Cool factor aside – think iRobot, Minority Report and Total Recall – proponents claim numerous societal benefits, including increased mobility while reducing traffic congestion and collisions. Of course, there remain clear obstacles like safety, liability, privacy and security.
Clearly, test driving is only one step in the process, but with companies like Apple rapidly growing their technology test fleets, it appears we will need to start confronting these related ideals sooner, rather than later.