Apple is coming on strong in the self-driving market.
The iPhone maker received its first permit to test self-driving cars on California roads in April 2017. By January, the company had 27 permits, and now has permits to drive 45 self-driving cars in California, Financial Times is reporting. Apple is now second behind General Motors’ Cruise company, which has 110 self-driving car permits in California. Financial Times obtained the permit information from the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
With 45 cars on the road, Apple is now testing more vehicles than its top rivals. Tesla, for instance, has 39 permits. Uber has 29 permits, according to the report. Alphabet’s Waymo had more than 100 permits in June 2017 and has 24 now.
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Self-driving car technology has become the latest arms race among major technology companies, with many of them betting that autonomous cars requiring little to no human interaction is the way of the future. And they’re also hoping their technology for operating the vehicles and keeping passengers safe will become the de facto choice for car makers.
Still, self-driving cars likely won’t be available to consumers for at least a couple of years. Testing, meanwhile, is critical for all of those companies to get their technologies ready for that.
The Financial Times report comes just days after a woman in Tempe, Arizona was struck and killed by a self-driving car Uber was testing. After a preliminary investigation, Police chief Sylvia Moir said that the collision that killed 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg wasn’t Uber’s fault and the accident “would have been difficult to avoid” regardless of whether the other car was autonomous or human-driven.