Apple’s fleet of Lexus SUV equipped with lidars has now grown from the 45 it had till the end of March to 55 as of now. The program also has 83 drivers engaged with supervision during testing.
Apple seems to be quietly building upon its fleet of self-driving cars which is a clear sign of the company pursuing the technology with enough zeal.
As of now, Apple’s self-driving car fleet stands at 55 strong; up from the 45 it had till even a few months back, or March 2018, to be precise. Also, the entire self-driving car program sees the participation of at least 83 drivers. That is sort of ironical given that it is self-driving car program that is being discussed here.
The above however can be explained from the fact that Apple has never applied for the driverless testing permit which would have allowed them to test their self-driving cars under zero human supervision. Maybe Apple has reached the stage of developing driver assist systems and is yet to develop the technology that would allow the car to drive entirely on its own.
Apple has also been extremely secretive with its autonomous car program though things kept pilfering out in the open. That has been largely due to a regulatory requirement that mandates companies to submit public info to the DMV. The Cupertino company otherwise is known to be extremely possessive about its future releases.
The above trend meanwhile has also led to the company lagging behind others in developing a road-worthy autonomous technology. The company had even embargoed its engineers to publish their research papers anywhere to adhere to strict standards of secrecy. While that has since been relaxed, its data privacy rules which otherwise draws wide applause is also blamed for the slow progress it has made with its high-end research programs.
Apple meanwhile has also readjusted the scope of the self-driving car project to develop just the software and hardware needed for the car to drive on its own. That happens to be a climb-down from its earlier position to developing an entire self-driving car from scratch.
It remains to be seen though if that same still holds or will hold in future. Maybe Apple will outsource the development of a futuristic car to proper automobile manufacturers while limiting its role to developing the software and hardware needed for autonomous driving.