Apple self-driving car fleet grows to 66 vehicles in California

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in General Discussion
Apple is continuing to increase the number of autonomous vehicles it has on the roads for testing, reportedly registering more vehicles with the Californian Department of Motor Vehicles to bring the fleet up to 66 self-driving cars operating in the state.




In a recent filing with the state DMV spotted by Macreports, the 66 cars being used by Apple are being controlled by 111 registered drivers. This is an increase in both vehicles and drivers since May 14, when Apple had 55 test vehicles and 83 authorized drivers.

The increases suggest Apple is adding more vehicles to the fleet at a steady rate. The previous update on March 20 claimed there to be 45 Apple-owned self-driving cars, which would put Apple at introducing roughly ten more cars to the collection every two months.

Despite the increases, Apple still does not operate the most autonomous test vehicles in the state. California's records indicate Apple's fleet to be the third-largest, behind the 117 cars and 333 drivers for GM Cruise, as well as the 72 cars and 411 drivers of Waymo. Tesla has 39 cars and 92 registered drivers in its own project.

California has issued 56 autonomous vehicle testing permits, with 468 approved vehicles operated by 1,677 approved drivers. Notably, Apple has yet to apply for a driverless car permit from the DMV, suggesting it would prefer to continue with driver-assisted testing for the moment.

Worked on under the "Project Titan" name, Apple's autonomous vehicle technology was originally thought to be part of a branded car, but the focus reportedly changed to just the self-driving vehicle system in late 2016. It is unclear what the current goal for Apple's work is, but it is thought to be the autonomous platform itself rather than an entire vehicle, with the potential of partnering with an outside firm to create a ridehailing service.

A connected self-driving project intending to shuttle company employees between facilities was reported in May to use Volkswagon T6 Transporter vans, after attempts to negotiate with BMW to work on the project allegedly failed. Running from Palo Alto to Infinite Loop, the PAIL program will include specialized dashboards, seats, and extensive modifications made to the vehicles, and will still be operated by a back-up driver and co-pilot, in case the self-driving element fails.

Apple is also expanding the self-driving car team with senior Waymo engineer and NASA JPL engineer Jamie Waydo, who was responsible for checking the safety of prototype vehicles and coaching the autonomous competitor ahead of real-world road tests in Phoenix. Before Waymo, Waydo's time at NASA included working on one of the agency's Mars rovers.

Project Titan has also been the subject of attempted trade secret theft, with one former Apple employee entering a plea of not guilty on July 16, after being accused of stealing a 25-page detailed schematic of a circuit board intended for use in an autonomous vehicle.
patchythepirate
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    netroxnetrox Posts: 638member
    Now that the thief is in jail, Apple is now adding more cars... something is going on.
  • Reply 2 of 26
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,512member
    I think Apple are designing roof racks for Lexus!  ;)
    cornchipJWSC
  • Reply 3 of 26
    " It is unclear what the current goal for Apple's work is, "

    What if Apple sees driverless cars as nothing more than street mapping tools.  Instead of Google's Street View vehicles, that probably were on the road for about 8 hours a day, Apple's cars could be roaming streets 24 hours a day/7 days per week.  What if these vehicles weren't just learning to map by GPS coordinates, but also visual landmarks, entry points, etc.

    Expensive solution?  Yes, but the development of the artificial intelligence/machine learning engine to do that would have applications all over the place.
    longpathclaire1rhinotuffstompycornchip
  • Reply 4 of 26
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,873member
    It often occurs to me that compared to all the money spent by Google, GM, Apple, Tesla, etc to teach computers to drive (and they still aren't done yet!)  it would probably be cheaper to teach a chimpanzee how to drive. 

    But I guess the downside is that then you've just got one chimpanzee who can drive -- that doesn't really scale. Whereas once one a computer is taught, scaling is as easy as copy/paste. 
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 5 of 26
    " It is unclear what the current goal for Apple's work is, "

    What if Apple sees driverless cars as nothing more than street mapping tools.  Instead of Google's Street View vehicles, that probably were on the road for about 8 hours a day, Apple's cars could be roaming streets 24 hours a day/7 days per week.  What if these vehicles weren't just learning to map by GPS coordinates, but also visual landmarks, entry points, etc.

    Expensive solution?  Yes, but the development of the artificial intelligence/machine learning engine to do that would have applications all over the place.
    That's been my thought as well.  Once you build the reliable network of street mapping data and launch a platform for self-driving cars, those same vehicles will maintain and add to your data set.  If there's road construction or closures, the data is collected in nearly real-time and updated throughout the system.  That's why I think the real money is in the software.  If one company can build the software for multiple manufacturers, we'd have a standard across those brands.  You wouldn't worry about having incorrect mapping from your Toyota, but my Honda is correct...
  • Reply 6 of 26
    netroxnetrox Posts: 638member
    What I don't get it is that the truth is self-driving vehicles can easily be achieved with minimal risks if we have a task force organization on making rules on how the roads should be designed for those self-driving vehicles. It does not have to be expensive. It's just as simple as embedding some kind of tag with GPS info to guide autonomous vehicles and yet be able to share the same road with regular vehicles. We have computers that can immediately recognize objects and can determine if they are barriers and be able to read and interpret the signs and lights. Humans are the worst offenders when it comes to driving and they contribute to bottlenecks in traffic. When we have autonomous cars, they make the decision that is optimized for traffic and economy.
     
  • Reply 7 of 26
    zroger73zroger73 Posts: 673member
    On March 29, an Apple Maps van crashed in Kilgore, Texas. The driver died from his injuries later that day.

    It's creepy how this story never made it past the local news. Interestingly, the local police department was asking the public for information about the crash. Surely, the 360° cameras, lidar, GPS, and wheel encoder collected more than enough evidence. Locals say that intersection is very dangerous.

    https://www.news-journal.com/news/police/driver-in-wreck-near-kilgore-dies-from-injuries/article_8cae4bdc-381b-11e8-ab66-771cdddaf270.html

    NOTE: This was not a self-driving vehicle.




    edited July 18 gatorguynetroxcornchip
  • Reply 8 of 26
    irelandireland Posts: 17,383member
    Or Apple could bring out a car now and beta test safety features on the public like Elon does, which is insane. After watching some of the videos where people pointed out danger issues with autopilot, Tesla’s genuinely scare me. There’s no way this feature should be allowed to be used by the public at this point, given some of the videos I have seen. It’s totally ridiculous! But then Tesla shareholders are the worst. It’s like a cult and their fearless leader can do no wrong. 
    edited July 18
  • Reply 9 of 26
    irelandireland Posts: 17,383member
    zroger73 said:
    On March 29, an Apple Maps van crashed in Kilgore, Texas. The driver died from his injuries later that day.

    It's creepy how this story never made it past the local news. Interestingly, the local police department was asking the public for information about the crash. Surely, the 360° cameras, lidar, GPS, and wheel encoder collected more than enough evidence. Locals say that intersection is very dangerous.

    https://www.news-journal.com/news/police/driver-in-wreck-near-kilgore-dies-from-injuries/article_8cae4bdc-381b-11e8-ab66-771cdddaf270.html




    Very sad. Maybe worth pointing out though, that Apple Maps vehicles are in no way self-driving.
    edited July 18
  • Reply 10 of 26
    irelandireland Posts: 17,383member
    netrox said:
    What I don't get it is that the truth is self-driving vehicles can easily be achieved with minimal risks if we have a task force organization on making rules on how the roads should be designed for those self-driving vehicles. It does not have to be expensive.
    lol
    bonobob
  • Reply 11 of 26
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,285member

    Despite the increases, Apple still does not operate the most autonomous test vehicles in the state. California's records indicate Apple's fleet to be the third-largest, behind the 117 cars and 333 drivers for GM Cruise, as well as the 72 cars and 411 drivers of Waymo. Tesla has 39 cars and 92 registered drivers in its own project.

    What does this have to do with anything? Is the company with the most cars on the road the winner? What does being third place in the number of cars on the road have to do with Apple’s success or failure in this technology? Why was that paragraph inserted?
    edited July 18
  • Reply 12 of 26
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,017member
    ireland said:
    zroger73 said:
    On March 29, an Apple Maps van crashed in Kilgore, Texas. The driver died from his injuries later that day.

    It's creepy how this story never made it past the local news. Interestingly, the local police department was asking the public for information about the crash. Surely, the 360° cameras, lidar, GPS, and wheel encoder collected more than enough evidence. Locals say that intersection is very dangerous.

    https://www.news-journal.com/news/police/driver-in-wreck-near-kilgore-dies-from-injuries/article_8cae4bdc-381b-11e8-ab66-771cdddaf270.html




    Very sad. Maybe worth pointing out though, that Apple Maps vehicles are in no way self-driving.
    Good point. 


  • Reply 13 of 26
    zroger73zroger73 Posts: 673member
    ireland said:
    Or Apple could bring out a car now and beta test safety features on the public like Elon does, which is insane. After watching some of the videos where people pointed out danger issues with autopilot, Tesla’s genuinely scare me. There’s no way this feature should be allowed to be used by the public at this point, given some of the videos I have seen. It’s totally ridiculous! But then Tesla shareholders are the worst. It’s like a cult and their fearless leader can do no wrong. 
    Then we have George Hotz and his comma.ai self-driving add-on for select Honda, Toyota, and GM vehicles that drives almost as good, if not better in some cases, than Tesla's Autopilot.
  • Reply 14 of 26
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,285member
    netrox said:
    What I don't get it is that the truth is self-driving vehicles can easily be achieved with minimal risks if we have a task force organization on making rules on how the roads should be designed for those self-driving vehicles. It does not have to be expensive. It's just as simple as embedding some kind of tag with GPS info to guide autonomous vehicles and yet be able to share the same road with regular vehicles. We have computers that can immediately recognize objects and can determine if they are barriers and be able to read and interpret the signs and lights. Humans are the worst offenders when it comes to driving and they contribute to bottlenecks in traffic. When we have autonomous cars, they make the decision that is optimized for traffic and economy.
     
    Do you need some venture capital for your startup? Everything is simple until you actually try doing it. AI interacting with real human drivers is the problem.
  • Reply 15 of 26
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,017member
    lkrupp said:
    netrox said:
    What I don't get it is that the truth is self-driving vehicles can easily be achieved with minimal risks if we have a task force organization on making rules on how the roads should be designed for those self-driving vehicles. It does not have to be expensive. It's just as simple as embedding some kind of tag with GPS info to guide autonomous vehicles and yet be able to share the same road with regular vehicles. We have computers that can immediately recognize objects and can determine if they are barriers and be able to read and interpret the signs and lights. Humans are the worst offenders when it comes to driving and they contribute to bottlenecks in traffic. When we have autonomous cars, they make the decision that is optimized for traffic and economy.
     
    Do you need some venture capital for your startup? Everything is simple until you actually try doing it. AI interacting with real human drivers is the problem.
    Absolutely. If we could stop people from driving then this AI stuff would be done already. 
    cornchip
  • Reply 16 of 26
    irelandireland Posts: 17,383member
    lkrupp said:
    netrox said:
    What I don't get it is that the truth is self-driving vehicles can easily be achieved with minimal risks if we have a task force organization on making rules on how the roads should be designed for those self-driving vehicles. It does not have to be expensive. It's just as simple as embedding some kind of tag with GPS info to guide autonomous vehicles and yet be able to share the same road with regular vehicles. We have computers that can immediately recognize objects and can determine if they are barriers and be able to read and interpret the signs and lights. Humans are the worst offenders when it comes to driving and they contribute to bottlenecks in traffic. When we have autonomous cars, they make the decision that is optimized for traffic and economy.
     
    Do you need some venture capital for your startup? Everything is simple until you actually try doing it. AI interacting with real human drivers is the problem.
    If only it were that simple. The list of problems is almost endless. Tesla’s tech itself isn’t read for mainstream. I’ve seen several videos from this year where the Tesla tries to cross the line into oncoming traffic. You can hardly blame the oncoming human driver in that scenario. Had the Tesla driver not reacted quickly enough he may have been dead. I don’t know, the whole thing is very strange to me how cars can have these features on public roads when they clearly aren’t ready. Users are literally reporting safety issues and then Tesla is issuing software updates to fix them. There’s no issue to report if you are dead, however. Feck that shit. I wouldn’t drive one. Elon should have more sense, and more respect for his customers.
    edited July 18
  • Reply 17 of 26
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,195member
    zroger73 said:
    On March 29, an Apple Maps van crashed in Kilgore, Texas. The driver died from his injuries later that day.

    It's creepy how this story never made it past the local news. Interestingly, the local police department was asking the public for information about the crash. Surely, the 360° cameras, lidar, GPS, and wheel encoder collected more than enough evidence. Locals say that intersection is very dangerous.

    https://www.news-journal.com/news/police/driver-in-wreck-near-kilgore-dies-from-injuries/article_8cae4bdc-381b-11e8-ab66-771cdddaf270.html

    NOTE: This was not a self-driving vehicle.




    And why would a typical car accident somewhere in the US be anything more than local news?  There literally is nothing to see here.  An argument to the contrary could be made if it were a self-driving vehicle, but it was not.  Just because the car was owned by Apple is not enough for me to care.
    patchythepirate
  • Reply 18 of 26
    ivanhivanh Posts: 190member
    When the day comes cars are self-driving, the passengers will surely be robots, not human.
  • Reply 19 of 26
    I still think Apple's end-goal is not to sell us a self-driving car but to remove the need of us to own a car... cars in the future are automated ride-sharing shuttles that u hail as and when u need. The tie-up with Didi cabs led me down this route of thinking.
  • Reply 20 of 26
    irelandireland Posts: 17,383member
    ivanh said:
    When the day comes cars are self-driving, the passengers will surely be robots, not human.
    wut
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