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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Apple has been granted a permit that enables it to test autonomous vehicles on public roads in the state of California, according to the California DMV website (via Business Insider).

Apple was added to the list of permit holders that are allowed to participate in the Autonomous Vehicle Tester Program in California on Friday, joining companies like Google, Tesla, BMW, Honda, Ford, Nissan, and more.


Obtaining a permit for autonomous vehicle testing requires multiple steps, including outlining details for each specific vehicle being tested, suggesting Apple may have some sort of software test vehicle that's road ready. Whether Apple will actually begin testing a vehicle remains to be seen, as some companies sign up and then don't go on to use it, but should Apple begin vehicle testing, public reports will need to be filed.

In California, all companies that participate in the Autonomous Vehicle Testing Program must file Disengagement Reports that outline how many miles were covered with self-driving vehicles, so if Apple does test a vehicle, the information will be shared on the DMV's website.

Apple's acceptance into the Autonomous Vehicle Tester Program confirms the company's work on a car-related project. Early rumors suggested Apple was developing its own autonomous electric vehicle, but Apple is said to have since transitioned to building an autonomous driving system rather than a full blown car.

Developed under the leadership of Bob Mansfield, Apple's autonomous driving system could allow it to partner with existing car makers or return to its own car development project in the future. Apple executives have reportedly given the car team until 2017 to prove the feasibility of an Apple-designed autonomous driving system, and its approval to road-test vehicles could be a signal that the project is advancing.

Update: According to Bloomberg, Apple filed for a permit because it plans to start testing its self-driving car software platform on public streets. The software will be put in existing cars, with the permit covering three 2015 Lexus RX450h SUVs and six drivers, according to a DMV spokesperson.

Article Link: Apple Receives Permit From California DMV to Test Self-Driving Cars [Updated]


macrumors G3
Oct 5, 2008
Oh wow. I wasn't expecting that. But then again, isn't it funny what haven't heard much about the Apple Car in a while? Nice to hear they are still hard at work on it.


macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
Question: If Apple made a perfect clone of the Tesla Model 3 and both were available today at the same price, which would you buy?

The only pro I see with Apple is it'd have better integration with the iPhone (because Tesla just doesn't seem to give a crap about CarPlay). I'd go with Tesla - they have 13 years of experience making EVs and 9 years of experience selling and maintaining EVs while Apple has virtually none. Plus Tesla has the supercharger network... although I could see Apple being willing to enter into a partnership with Tesla to allow their customers to use the network, much like iPhone users can use the AT&T network.

Juicy Box

macrumors 604
Sep 23, 2014
This is interesting. I wonder if Apple autonomous system will just be software and not an actual car.

If that is the case, hopefully it won't be as buggy as CarPlay.


Jul 31, 2011
I can see the press comment now.

"Apple always looks for ways that we can improve the experience and the customers' experience on different sets of products. And we are always applying for permits from various local governments, and the car space in general is an area that it's clear that there is a lot of technologies that will either become available or will be able to revolutionise the car experience. And so it's interesting from that point of view, but nothing to, certainly nothing to announce today."


macrumors 68020
Apr 23, 2015
I hope it's not using Apple Maps for directions.

I hope they don't use Google. In my area (Northern Italy) they sent me into no man's land several times, and I completely gave up and disinstalled the app. Apple Maps are way better.

Obtaining a permit for autonomous vehicle testing requires multiple steps, including outlining details for each specific vehicle being tested, suggesting Apple may have some sort of test vehicle that's road ready.

So much for the "failed Apple Car" haters.


Sep 11, 2014
Imagine the conversation between Siri and a state trooper if the car ever gets pulled over! :eek:

That car is gonna get tazed!

(Just joking...I don't automatically assume Siri is a part of this)
In all seriousness though, I'm quite surprised to see this project is so well along. Good news, I hope it works out well.
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