Tech giant Apple has deepened its interest in self-driving cars and now has expanded its fleet of autonomous cars in California, USA making it the second-largest fleet in the state. The news comes in days after Chinese ridesharing firm Didi Chuxing confirming that it will test its own driverless car technology. As per macReports by California Department of Motor Vehicles that now confirms that Apple now has about 55 cars running on public roads - up from 27 units being tested in January 2018.
Apple self-driving car project started with just three vehicles in April 2017 and expanded to 45 vehicles earlier this year with another 10 cars joining the fleet, Apple seems to been making some quick progress in its self-driving project. Reports further confirm Apple now has a total of 83 licensed drivers to take its cars out onto the roads. Currently, all the Apple Cars require a safety driver behind the wheel. The company yet to apply for a permit to drive an unmanned self-driving car required as per new norms set by Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV). Google's Waymo had applied for such a permit earlier this year.
Now, if things go as per the company's plan, you could be sitting in an Apple car as early as in 2019. Lexus RX450h has been leading Apple's autonomous SUV fleet to test its technology. Apple is using the high-tech motor and advanced radar technology including LIDAR equipment and highly sensitive sensors and cameras for an efficient and safe drive. it is believed that Apple plans to license its self-driving technology and will not really build its own cars. Investing heavily in future of mobility and expanding its autonomous car fleet indicates that Apple is ready to take on the challenge in mobility space. Likes of Uber, Google, Lyfy, Samsung are also working on developing autonomous car technology.
If you look at the overall development of this technology, General Motors has about 104 autonomous Chevrolet Cruise in the state and Google's Waymo has about 51 registered vehicles. Overall, Google's Waymo's operation in Arizona has over 600 autonomous minivans plying on the streets and the Alphabet owned company claims to have thousand more on order as it begins to implement its ride-sharing service.