Accident shows Apple is amply testing self-driving cars
For the first time the Californian traffic authorities received word of an accident with an autonomous car from Apple. Apparently an electric Nissan Leaf bumped into the back of an Apple test car, a Lexus 450h. It shows the world’s most valued tech company is still amply testing self-driving cars.
It was only a minor accident. The Apple car was driving at foot pace to turn right on a fast lane in the vicinity of the Apple headquarters at Cupertino (CA), when it was hit by the Nissan at 24 kph. Nobody got hurt but because it involved an autonomous driving test car, the accident had to be reported at the authorities.
Little is known about Apple’s progress with its autonomous driving program. It was in 2015 when the Wall Street Journal for the first time disclosed the existence of Apple’s secret Titan program, for which it recruited several former Tesla people.
Meanwhile there was some turnover of staff between the two companies. Lately it recuperated Doug Field, ex-Apple guy who became head of the Tesla Model 3 program and returned later to Cupertino.
Most complex AI project
Although initially plans existed to develop its own car, Apple later decided to focus on the software for autonomous driving of the car only. A year ago Apple CEO, Tim Cook, told the Bloomberg press agency in an interview that he considers “the autonomous car the mother of all artificial intelligence (AI) projects . “It’s probably the most complex AI project we’re working on”, Cook added.
In 2017, the tech company got a license to put 60 test vehicles on Californian roads, which is more than the fleet Google had in the state initially. Meanwhile Waymo, autonomous car branch of Google/Alphabet, announced in June this year it has ordered with FCA 62.000 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids to introduce its driverless taxi service by the end of the year.