Apple is leading the technology industry in its self-driving car testing in California.
In an e-mailed statement to Apple-tracking site MacReports recently, the California Department of Motor Vehicles confirmed the tech giant now has 55 self-driving car permits and 83 drivers licensed to test the technology on the state’s roads. That puts Apple in second place, behind only General Motors’ Cruise division, which has 104 vehicles and 407 drivers, according to the report.
Apple’s permit number is staggering. The iPhone maker didn’t have a single permit in March 2017 and was awarded three permits in April 2017. In a little over a year, Apple has amassed the largest number of self-driving car permits of any tech company. That said, some of its apparent competitors are coming on strong.
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Alphabet’s Waymo, for instance, now has 51 self-driving car permits and 338 drivers. Tesla, which is also testing self-driving car technology, has 39 vehicles permitted and 92 drivers.
Although many of the other companies testing self-driving cars in California have been discussing their plans and strategies openly, Apple has remained tight-lipped. And although it was rumored a couple of years ago that Apple was building its own self-driving car, it’s now believed to be working on the technology that will control a self-driving car. If all goes well, Apple ostensibly plans to sell the technology to carmakers when autonomous vehicles begin hitting the road with consumers inside.
Self-driving car testing has been conducted by several companies for years. While the eventual launch of the vehicles is a bit of a moving target, most industry experts say the technology should start hitting the road in large numbers by 2020.