This morning it was discovered that Apple was on the list for road testing autonomous vehicle permits in California. As such, it’s possible that Apple has an autonomous car hidden in a garage somewhere, hidden under a pile of rose-gold cardboard boxes so nobody can see it! Or it could mean that Apple is one of a wide variety of companies interested in getting a permit for road testing autonomous vehicles to test a piece of technology in an autonomous vehicle – something so small as a processor or as large as an electric engine.
We’re directed to this list of companies at the State of California DMV by writer Mike Isaac on Twitter. It’s through this list we’re given insight on how close Apple is to the autonomous car industry – sort of. We can take some information from this list, but not a whole lot of solid data on what, exactly, Apple is doing.
The list includes all of the companies in the image above. This image includes several companies that I’d like to point out specifically: Uber, Telenav, Baidu, Tesla, and NVIDIA. Uber has an autonomous vehicle that they’re driving around – they’re a good example of a company that intends on focusing on a few models or a single model at a time – a real-deal full-sized vehicle.
Tesla is a company that has vehicles that’ll be going autonomous sooner than later. Tesla’s Autopilot is almost autonomous already – but they’ll be making autonomous vehicles all on their own at some point in the future, on that you can count. Baidu has been working with a bunch of companies on autonomous cars: BMW and Ford and NVIDIA, too. Baidu is interested in investing – but they’ve got their own car, too.
You’ll find NVIDIA’s efforts to mostly focus on their own processor technology for autonomous piloting. They probably wont make their own car – they have a lot more to profit from in selling their processors and software to established car manufacturers.
Telenav was one of the first 20 companies to be granted a permit for Autonomous Vehicle Testing in California. That was back in October of 2016, when they suggested the following: “Telenav is developing navigation, ADAS, mapping and big data intelligence platforms to serve various levels of autonomous driving.”
Apple may be testing out some new autonomous car technology in some way or another – but don’t jump the gun. Now we’ll see whether Apple takes the approach that has them making the entire autonomous vehicle, or just making certain they’re a part of the autonomous vehicle industry with their already-dominant iPhone – with software, that is to say. They’ve hit some roadblocks already – so don’t be too disappointed when the iCar doesn’t roll off the manufacturing line later this year.