Apple enters self-driving auto race

"This does confirm what's always been rumored: that Apple is at least toying with the idea of getting into the autonomous game in some capacity", Chris Theodore, former vice president and enter at Ford, said, via Automotive News.

Apple has officially joined the autonomous vehicle race.

Apple has received California DMV permit for testing self-driving vehicles in California. At last, the company's secretive efforts was crowned by the success.

Neil Cybart, an independent analyst who writes about Apple at the site Above Avalon, said the company appeared to have moved away from plans to build and sell cars in the way that Tesla does. However, as the tech giant begins testing what it calls "Project Titan", it is expected that more details regarding the autonomous vehicle and its technology will be revealed in due time.

Apple has obtained a permit to test self-driving vehicles, putting the iPhone maker in competition with Google and others.

The permit gives Apple the right to operate three 2015 Lexus RX450h SUVs equipped with hardware and software to be allow autonomous driving, according to Business Insider.

The secretive company that it is, little is known about the autonomous skills of Apple's software, but in a letter previous year to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Apple said it was "investing heavily in the study of machine learning and automation, and is excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation". "Apple could bring innovation to either cars being retrofitted with the self-driving technology, or to new ones designed from scratch".

In those comments, the company said, "Apple uses machine learning to make its products and services smarter, more intuitive and more personal".

Last month, Swiss publication Inside IT claimed that Apple had hired more than ten post-doctoral students from ETH Zurich to work at its research facility in Switzerland.

There have been rumors surrounding Apple's ambitions in the sector for a while now.

Besides providing more evidence that the project is still underway, the DMV license also represents something of an achievement for Apple. Mansfield narrowed down the focus from building a full-fledged auto to developing the autonomous driving system first.

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