Apple now has 27 self-driving Lexus cars on the road in California

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware
The state of California has now permitted Apple to have 27 self-driving cars on its public roads, as the company expands its homegrown automated driving technology, internally known as "Project Titan."




Apple previously had just three Lexus RX450h vehicles in its fleet, which took to the road last April. But since then, 24 more have been added and are legally allowed to hit the road, California's Department of Motor Vehicles confirmed to Bloomberg.

While a huge leap for Apple, the 27 cars are still well behind competitors. For example, Alphabet's Waymo has hundreds of vehicles permitted to drive themselves in multiple states.

Apple's test vehicle systems initially included a Velodyne LiDAR 64-channel unit mounted on the roof, and radar arrays on the front and rear bumpers, as well as cameras around the perimeter. The systems were said to have been updated last August.




Apple has long been rumored to be working on autonomous vehicle technology under its "Project Titan" initiative. A branded car was said to be part of the initiative's original plans, but the company reportedly abandoned the aggressive goal in late 2016 after the project hit a number of snags.

Formerly led by Steve Zadesky, Project Titan was later handed over to SVP of Hardware Engineering Dan Riccio and then to longtime executive Bob Mansfield. Under Mansfield, the team was allegedly whittled down and efforts refocused to self-driving software and supporting hardware.

AppleInsider was first to discover Apple's Sunnyvale, Calif., facilities where development of Project Titan began in earnest.
h2plolliver

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,741member
    “While a huge leap for Apple, the 27 cars are still well behind competitors. For example, Alphabet's Waymo has hundreds of vehicles permitted to drive themselves in multiple states.”

    If they’re focusing on the basics, getting those nailed down with precision (what Apple is known for), then the things that determine what “well behind competitors” means change drastically. 

    No one knows all the details or the true extent of Apple’s plans except Apple. 
    macguilolliver
  • Reply 2 of 13
    “While a huge leap for Apple, the 27 cars are still well behind competitors. For example, Alphabet's Waymo has hundreds of vehicles permitted to drive themselves in multiple states.”

    If they’re focusing on the basics, getting those nailed down with precision (what Apple is known for), then the things that determine what “well behind competitors” means change drastically. 

    No one knows all the details or the true extent of Apple’s plans except Apple. 
    I'm reminded of the barges Google (Alphabet) were permitted to have moored in "multiple states"... that went well, didn't it!
    mwhitemacky the mackyquadra 610badmonklolliverpatchythepirate
  • Reply 3 of 13
    The question I never see answered in stories like this is this:
    If this thing crashes into you, runs you over (pedestrian), damages your property or kills you, who is liable?
    Will it be the car owner, the AI drive system maker, the car manufacturer, all of the above or none of the above?

    I am quite sure “thoughts and prayers” doesn’t get it.
    maciekskontaktquadra 610GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 4 of 13
    Whose liability in accident? Apple? Car itself or passenger? ... or maybye always other driver because "technology is superior and only humans make mistakes"?
    quadra 610
  • Reply 5 of 13
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,735member
    “While a huge leap for Apple, the 27 cars are still well behind competitors. For example, Alphabet's Waymo has hundreds of vehicles permitted to drive themselves in multiple states.”

    If they’re focusing on the basics, getting those nailed down with precision (what Apple is known for), then the things that determine what “well behind competitors” means change drastically. 

    No one knows all the details or the true extent of Apple’s plans except Apple. 
    They have a link with the Chinese Uber, putting their tech into a few hundreds of those cars could be done pretty discretely and they'd then be collecting a huge amount of data (I'm not even sure they haven't done it already).
    quadra 610lolliver
  • Reply 6 of 13
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,735member
    The question I never see answered in stories like this is this:
    If this thing crashes into you, runs you over (pedestrian), damages your property or kills you, who is liable?
    Will it be the car owner, the AI drive system maker, the car manufacturer, all of the above or none of the above?

    I am quite sure “thoughts and prayers” doesn’t get it.

    It depends on if you can prove the user was not driving at all, what kind of mechanical failure occured (if any), was the accident unavoidable (some are, like a head on where the other car veers into you at the last second, or some kid popping into traffic between two cars), who owned and maintained the vehicle and where and what damage (or bodily harm) occurred.

    Adapting current laws to the fact the driver is not always operating the vehicule has to be done of course.

    1) If they own the vehicule
    - If there is a way to prove that the user is in no way responsible for the accident, say got on the car like on a bus and punched in the destination, well then they're not responsible UNLESS they are responsible for some mechanical failure that they could have avoided by getting the car serviced.
       - That's a bit like owning a house and making sure bricks from the house don't fall off and kill someone.
       - You still have to take an insurance in case something happens and it is not a criminal mater and there is no mechanical failure and you are not responsible. For example, road is slippery and the car goes straight through a fence unto someone's yard. Sometimes you can't avoid the accident but well, the person who has been aggrieved wants things to be fixed.
      - If an accident occurs through mechanical failure due to the manufacturer (which is almost never the case in real life) or if the software has a bug (which does happen, software has bugs, but would be hard to prove and would need a black box to log all sensor data in case of an accident) you'd need a way to prove it and your insurance would then go after the manufacturer to recoup damages paid.
      - This is were it gets hard, if you have the film of the accident, all sensor data, someone would have to decide if a reasonable alert driver would have been able to avoid the accident (that's probably what will be the initial threshold for determining who should be responsible). Eventually though, the threshold will not be compared to a human, but to what's considered the standard minimum response for an AI put in a similar situation (which would probably be a lot better than a human).

    2) If the user does not own or operate the vehicule,well it's basically a kind of public transport and in that case it is certainly not the user who has to worry about anything. The actual owner/operator or manufacturer (see previous paragraph) is the one liable depending on the case.

    edited January 25 lolliver
  • Reply 7 of 13
    Whose liability in accident? Apple? Car itself or passenger? ... or maybye always other driver because "technology is superior and only humans make mistakes"?
    D. All of the above.  They are all liable if they are found being at fault in causing the accident. 

    lolliver
  • Reply 8 of 13
    D. All of the above.  They are all liable if they are found being at fault in causing the accident. 
    Strange, that’s not the case with accidents today. What’s your justification for the statement? Perhaps both drivers knew it was coming but the software wouldn’t let them override. Then it’s the fault of the manufacturer alone. Maybe one of the cars is empty, going to the owner’s workplace to pick him up. Is that owner at fault because he called the car to his location? Perhaps one driver purposely drove into the other, manually, in a self-driving car. Would you then sue the manufacturer for not stealing control from the human when the system knew about the crash and could have prevented it? It’s a dangerous slope on which this slides. Provided I live that long, I will be Will Smith’s character from the modern I, Robot film.

    ”What do you think you’re doing? The speed minimum is 170!”
    “I’m driving.”
    ”By hand?!”
    edited January 25 SpamSandwichpatchythepirate
  • Reply 9 of 13
    I found it curious that Apple is using Lexus automobiles.   Wasn't Toyota one of the very last hold-outs (until last month) from using Apple's CarPlay?   It just seems like strange bed-fellows...
  • Reply 10 of 13
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,041member
    I found it curious that Apple is using Lexus automobiles.   Wasn't Toyota one of the very last hold-outs (until last month) from using Apple's CarPlay?   It just seems like strange bed-fellows...
    Google also used that same Lexus model for autonomous testing, as have others, but they aren't doing so partnered with Toyota who has nothing to do with it.
    edited January 26
  • Reply 11 of 13
    FlappoFlappo Posts: 6unconfirmed, member
    Ugly design but very good car - plus excellent servicing etc
  • Reply 12 of 13
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,327member
    If Apple isn't developing their own car, they should inexpensive LIDAR and Cameras for the self driving software.   If they can design and manufacture the hardware at consumer prices it could be very popular with the car makers.   They also need to miniaturize these systems.
  • Reply 13 of 13
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,041member
    k2kw said:
    If Apple isn't developing their own car, they should inexpensive LIDAR and Cameras for the self driving software.   If they can design and manufacture the hardware at consumer prices it could be very popular with the car makers.   They also need to miniaturize these systems.
    You're not the only one with that idea :)
    https://arstechnica.com/cars/2017/01/googles-waymo-invests-in-lidar-technology-cuts-costs-by-90-percent/

    That article also mentions why the current Apple LIDAR array is mounted so high. 
    edited January 26
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