Apple’s self-driving car platform

While carmakers and startups are racing to produce tomorrow’s smart car, it would appear that Apple is aiming at building a self-driving platform that manufacturers can license to integrate into their electric cars.

As per information inferred from documents submitted to California’s regulators earlier this month, Apple is planning to train operators for its self-driving cars project, in the latest clue that hints at the company’s secretive aspirations in the area of autonomous vehicle technology.

California Department of Motor Vehicles had granted Apple a permit to test its self-driving cars on April 14 which placed Apple in the list of carmakers and startups who are testing their cars on the state’s road.

As part of its application, Apple had included a 10-page training plan that trains operators at taking back manual control of the car during an autonomous driving exercise.

Apple declined to comment beyond the filing.

“Automated System: Development Platform Specific Training Overview” whose objective is “to train safety drivers in various automated driving conditions. Development platform will be controlled electronically (e.g. joystick) and safety drivers must be ready to intervene and take control,” reads the document.

The document highlights different scenarios that are to be tested, including, tight U-turns, high speed driving and lane changes.

As per one of its letters to California’s Department of Motor Vehicles, its development platform “will have the ability to capture and store relevant data before a collision occurs.”

The documents however do not disclose how exactly Apple’s self-driving platform actually works and does not provide any other accompanying technical data, including the kind of sensors its uses in its test cars, all of which are Lexus model RX450h of 2015.

If Apple is not designing its own cars, it could very well be designing a self-driving platform that can be integrated into other manufacturer’s cars.


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