With the majority of consumers still devouring the educational updates announced during Apple’s first big event of the year, executives with the California Department of Motor Vehicles were planning for a new Apple development all its own: self-autonomous vehicles.
Who’s Who of the California DMV
Although documents released to MacReports, pursuant to the Public Records Act, show that the meeting, held April 2, 2018, was requested only two weeks earlier by California DMV’s Deputy Director, Bernard Soriano, it is unclear if anything concrete was discussed about Apple’s plans with self-driving cars.
Nevertheless, we do know it was DMV officials, not Apple execs, who wanted the meet. Besides Soriano and Apple’s Director of Product Integrity, veteran of the Detroit big-3, Steve Kenner, others in the room included DMV Director, Jean Shiomoto, DMV Chief Deputy Director William Davidson, DMV Deputy Director and Chief Counsel Brian Soublet, DMV Executive Fellow Alexandra Lake and DMV Attorney Emily Bisnett. Other Apple staff present are not known.
The two-hour scheduled appointment, aptly titled “Meeting with Apple,” was held at Apple’s 1 Infinite Loop headquarters. Again, specific details of the conversation were not released but in a follow-up email, dated April 5th, Soriano not only thanked Kenner for the conference but alluded to having touched base on possible issues highlighted during the discussion.
“Following up on a problem, which was brought up about the turnaround times for the drivers registered in the EPN program,” Soriano suggested that “there wasn’t a backlog” and requested further specifics so that “Sonia Huestis, Deputy Director over that program, and her team can track it down and see why there are bottlenecks.”
What Does It All Mean?
At least the program in question makes sense from a company looking to test self-autonomous technology. California’s Employer Pull Notice Program, established in the ‘80s and 90’s, promotes driver safety through ongoing performance review.
In a nutshell, it allows regulatory agencies and employers to monitor the driving records of employees who drive on behalf of businesses. Relevant changes are automatically relayed to registered employers so that they can identify potential problem drivers or behaviors quickly, thus improving public safety and minimizing liability.
While Apple’s endgame remains unclear, California seems overly committed to moving Apple forward in the business as the meeting was organized within a year of the 2017 permission to test self-driving cars on public roads was granted to Apple.