Apple Continues to Expand Self-Driving Car Fleet

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, May 14, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple continues to expand the number of self-driving vehicles it is testing on the streets of Northern California, according to new numbers sourced from the California DMV (via macReports).

    Apple has 55 vehicles out on the road driven by a total of 83 drivers, up from the 45 vehicle permits the company possessed in March. Since last April, Apple has been steadily adding new vehicles to its fleet, all of which are equipped with the autonomous driving software that Apple is developing.


    For its software testing, Apple uses Lexus RX450h sports utility vehicles outfitted with advanced LIDAR equipment and an array of cameras. While California now allows for fully autonomous driverless vehicles to be tested on public roads, Apple does not yet possess those permits and all of its vehicles have safety drivers inside.

    Rumors of Apple's work in the vehicle space first surfaced in 2015 as the company hired thousands of automotive experts and explored the possibility of a full Apple-designed electric vehicle. Those plans did not pan out, and in 2016, longtime Apple executive Bob Mansfield took over the automotive team and Apple refocused its efforts not on a car, but on self-driving car software.

    At the time of the pivot, Apple executives allegedly gave the automotive team until 2017 to "prove the feasibility" of a self-driving car system, and given the continued expansion of Apple's self-driving car fleet, it seems the company has decided to progress with development.

    It is not yet clear what Apple plans to do with the self-driving car software when finished, but the company could partner with other car manufacturers or eventually return to development on its own vehicle. It's also possible that some of the features that are being worked on could be introduced in future more advanced versions of CarPlay.

    Some rumors have suggested augmented reality aspects could be included in the software that Apple is developing, such as a heads-up display that would provide standard driving details along with data from apps like Maps.

    Because of the need to submit public information to the DMV, Apple has not been able to keep its work on autonomous driving software under wraps as it does with most of its product development. Tim Cook in June of 2017 even confirmed Apple's work on autonomous software, a rare move for the normally tight-lipped CEO. "It's a core technology that we view as very important," he said. "We sort of see it as the mother of all AI projects. It's probably one of the most difficult AI projects to actually work on."

    Article Link: Apple Continues to Expand Self-Driving Car Fleet
  2. Rogifan macrumors Core


    Nov 14, 2011
    Bryan Chaffin, who writes for the Mac Observer website, says there’s a reason Apple management is being so aggressive with the stock buybacks and he doesn’t think it’s about incremental changes to services revenue. He thinks something big will be coming from Apple in the next couple years that management feels will be a significant growth driver. I’m wondering if it’s something health related like non-invasive glucose monitoring or something to do with the car project.
  3. Bollockser macrumors regular

    Oct 28, 2014
    Cant wait to read all the fanboy excuses when the iCar starts running people over and causing accidents.
  4. WannaGoMac macrumors 68020


    Feb 11, 2007
    I'm not holding my breath on this "prediction."
  5. Rogifan macrumors Core


    Nov 14, 2011
    Who knows but companies typically buy back stock when they feel the stock is undervalued. Apple is accelerating the pace of their buyback program. I do think they have something cooking the health space that we will see in 2019 or 2020.
  6. bigboyz12000 macrumors member


    Jan 2, 2011
    Interesting indeed. Two things people I talk to want: 1. Live longer 2. Live longer with good health. Is Apple working on one or both of these? We shall see.
  7. ArtOfWarfare, May 14, 2018
    Last edited: May 14, 2018

    ArtOfWarfare macrumors G3


    Nov 26, 2007
    Are buybacks and dividends the same thing (do they at least have correlation?) The dividends from AAPL are okay, but my index funds are paying better dividends.

    Anyways, I wouldn't care too much about what Apple executives think about how they stack up to the competitors. Remember that they're the ones who repeatedly tout Siri and Apple Music.

    Healthcare is definitely blue water that Apple could make a big splash in.

    Autos... there's a lot of blue water left, but entering it requires some massive, time consuming moves. Tesla is working on building the world's largest building, and once fully operational, it'll allow them to capture ~1% of the global market. Building a factory like this is going to take years, and presumably you'll want to prove it out for a year or two before you invest in building more of them, so it's going to take Apple ~5 years from start to dominance if they want to do the whole car approach.

    If they want to do parternships like CarPlay... Google has been trying that for a long time and seem to be moving even slower than Tesla.
  8. Defthand macrumors 6502a

    Sep 1, 2010
    If the apparatus pictured on top of the Lexus is any indication of the equipment required to pilot a car, I doubt Apple is developing a car for consumers. My guess is that it will be for taxis or public transportation.
  9. lkrupp macrumors 6502a

    Jul 24, 2004
    Can’t wait for the blathering buffoonery of the haters when it succeeds and takes over the market.
  10. farewelwilliams macrumors 68000

    Jun 18, 2014
  11. reetcher macrumors member

    Apr 11, 2007
    Maybe they will come out that they don't want to be a computer company at all.
  12. TimWillz, May 14, 2018
    Last edited: May 15, 2018

    TimWillz macrumors regular


    Apr 3, 2013
    Chester, United Kingdom
    I do find this project very interesting as there is a huge amount of unknowns... Apple could be targeting anything from an improved version of maps to a full vehicle program.

    As an engineer in the automotive industry I think the latter is a bit of a stretch-to see anytime soon anyway. There is a lot more to a vehicle program than self driving software that would need to be considered and knowing Apple's (or Jony's) quest for perfection it wouldn't happen overnight.
  13. dontwalkhand macrumors 601


    Jul 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Heres the Apple car in action

    "Hey Siri drive me over to the Mayo Clinic"
    "Here are 47 grocery stores that sell mayonnaise, taking you there now"

    'Hey Siri drive me to Erin's house"
    "I'm sorry I don't see Aaron in your contacts"

    "Hey Siri drive me over to the Apple Store"
    " has great resources for that"

    "Hey Siri drive me to Fashion Square mall"
    "Searching the web for "drive me to fashion square mall""

    Can't wait for the future. Sounds like it'll be fun.
  14. The Barron macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2009
    I would love to see Apple get far more into healthcare apps especially with wireless cardiac & glucose monitoring features for the Apple watch & other devices. Apple was/is doing work with the state-of-the-art company for wireless cardiac monitoring, Biotelemetry last year, but I have yet to read what's happening on that front. Does anybody else know anything?
  15. apolloa macrumors G4

    Oct 21, 2008
    Time, because it rules EVERYTHING!
    Most sensible post you’ve made in ages IMO! Well they aren’t spending money on the R&D for nothing, we don’t know though what they are doing with car AI, weather they are building a car or just developing the systems? With the rumours indicating more towards them developing the tech only, that may then be a driver in revenue but it’ll be exclusive as a business to business offering rather then direct to the consumer.

    I think a push more into health monitoring may be more true? I guess we’ll see with the new Apple Watch design, I’m impressed with what mine can do know from the sensors it’s got!
  16. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    No, you don't. You have a package of driving aids.

    This Tesla driver thought he had a self-driving car:

    I know Musk publicly says it is a fully self-driving car and Tesla marketing shows hands-off driving in their video, but then when there is a crash and Musk testifies, his tune is 100% opposite and he says it is a hands-on system. He's basically saying one thing when selling the car, with people like you repeating it, and then something completely else when a customer is caught doing exactly what he said can be done.

    When we really have self-driving cars, people who are blind, are too old, are too young, are drunk, have lost their license, or simply cannot pass the driving test will be able to have cars. The only humans in taxis, Uber, and Lyft will be passengers. Semi trucks will have no humans in them at all. And even those who can legally and appropriately drive would be able to take a nap, watch TV, or work on their laptop instead of driving.
  17. apolloa macrumors G4

    Oct 21, 2008
    Time, because it rules EVERYTHING!
    In today’s paper their was a very sensible story, of some experts claiming as they don’t actually know how these cars and their AI are people going to react, and thy very killed a couple of people now I believe, then it may actually be safer to develop and rest them OFF the public roads! I’d agree with that I think. It’s tech they are pushing into at a very very very fast pace! And bringing it to market at a very fast pace to, I believe we are now one step from fully autonomous driving with top end Audi’s etc you can buy today.
  18. Kaledatheone macrumors newbie

    Jul 3, 2012
    This equipment is required if using a standard non-modified car. Eventually, required sensors will be built into the car's body.
  19. robbyx macrumors 65816

    Oct 18, 2005
    I'll be shocked if Apple licenses its self-driving tech to other companies. That's just not how they do things. We all know what happened way back when they licensed MacOS. I'm sure plenty of third parties would love to build iOS-based devices today, but Apple would never go that route. So I find it hard to believe that they will do it with a self-driving system.
  20. ArtOfWarfare macrumors G3


    Nov 26, 2007
    That's like suggesting that I can't drive. Am I perfect? Absolutely not, nor am I close. Sometimes I crash (although its been 6 years and ~120K miles since the last one.) My car can drive itself. It doesn't handle every situation. There are numerous situations where I'm still necessary. But every week the car gets better and I'm less necessary. Someday within the next year or two, its abilities will eclipse mine and I won't be a useful participant in the activity of driving anymore.

    Until that day, I'm still watching and at the ready to take over at any moment.
  21. dontwalkhand macrumors 601


    Jul 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    I would love this, this is one of the main reasons I try to take the bus and the train a few times a week, I don't like that wasted time I spend sitting in traffic. The day my car can just drive for me, I would feel much more productive all 7 days a week.
  22. ThisIsNotMe Suspended

    Aug 11, 2008
    Can't get Siri AI to work in a competent manner.
    Hey, lets go build AI for a self driving car, what could go wrong!
  23. robbyx macrumors 65816

    Oct 18, 2005
  24. Aston441 macrumors 65816

    Sep 16, 2014
    That car is perfect. Every well to do Boomer's last car before they drool off to the nursing home.

    Apple's core demographic. And management.
  25. norbinhouston macrumors regular

    Oct 14, 2011
    Can't wait for Jony Ive to get his hands on the final product. The car probably won't have doors because they are distracting to the design ethos.

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