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Apple's fleet of self-driving vehicles has almost doubled over the past two months, according to the Financial Times, as the iPhone maker continues to accelerate its research and development of autonomous technologies.

lexussuvselfdriving2-800x511.jpg

The report claims Apple now has permits for 45 autonomous vehicles, up from 27 in January, based on figures provided by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Apple has been expanding its fleet rapidly since receiving permits to test just three autonomous vehicles in California last April.

$AAPL scooplet: Apple now has 45 cars testing autonomous systems in California, up from 27 in Jan & 3 last April, @CA_DMV figures show. That's more than Waymo, Uber or Tesla in CA, as their testing moves to AZ https://t.co/Eohql6Qq70 pic.twitter.com/5ZdDIIAtxT - Tim Bradshaw (@tim) March 20, 2018

Apple's testing fleet is now the second largest in California, behind only General Motors subsidiary Cruise Automation and its 110 cars, according to the report. Google-owned Waymo is testing 24 cars in the state, down from more than 100 last June, while Tesla has 39 permits, the report adds.

As noted by Financial Times reporter Tim Bradshaw, Waymo and other companies appear to be shifting their testing to Arizona and other states, so Apple's larger-sized fleet in California doesn't necessarily make it the de facto leader.

Uber has permits to test 29 driverless vehicles in California, but the company has suspended all of its self-driving tests after a pedestrian was struck and killed by one of its autonomous vehicles, with a human safety driver behind the wheel, on Sunday. It was the first pedestrian fatality caused by an autonomous vehicle.

While the incident could result in more regulations for all companies testing autonomous vehicles, including Apple, Tempe police chief Sylvia Moir told the San Francisco Chronicle that "it would have been difficult to avoid this collision in any kind of mode based on how she came from the shadows right into the roadway."

California has required companies testing autonomous vehicles to have a human in the driver's seat to take over in the event of an emergency, but the state will be lifting that rule starting April 2, 2018.

Apple is one of more than 50 companies testing self-driving vehicle technologies in the San Francisco Bay Area. For nearly a year now, the company has been deploying its autonomous software in a series of 2015 Lexus RX450h SUVs, which can often be seen on streets surrounding its Cupertino headquarters.

"We're focusing on autonomous systems," said Apple CEO Tim Cook, in a June 2017 interview with Bloomberg Television. "It's a core technology that we view as very important. We sort of see it as the mother of all AI projects. It's probably one of the most difficult AI projects actually to work on."

Article Link: Apple's Fleet of Self-Driving Vehicles Has Almost Doubled Since January
 

AngerDanger

macrumors 603
Dec 9, 2008
5,109
25,554
Not mentioned in the article: the fleet has doubled without Apple doing anything to cause it.

In fact, I think MR is in on it; @arn and co (assuming humans still have control) keep using that deceptively poor image to hide the truth! But I've zoomed and enhanced to reveal what they're afraid to:

duodICp.gif
 
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Saipher

Contributor
Oct 25, 2014
300
1,147
CA, USA
In light of what happened with a Uber self-driving car hitting and killing a pedestrian, which apparently was the pedestrian's fault since I guess she came out of nowhere and was crossing on a non-crossing section of the street, couldn't the use of infrared cameras help in detecting people/animals who might no be seeing otherwise due to poor light conditions or weather? Just wondering....
 
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SlyBriFry

macrumors newbie
Jun 25, 2012
24
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Good thing California decided to lift the human-required rule a day after April 1, 2018. That would have been a total joke.
 
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npmacuser5

macrumors 65816
Apr 10, 2015
1,314
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Assisted or autonomous. Assisted a huge boom as our population ages. Like glasses, if properly designed could make aging drivers safer for more years. The drivers license could reflect the restriction, like glasses required to drive, to a package of assisted driving options.
Autonomous complexity may better fit in the commercial and public transportation markets now and in the near future. Less numbers, easier to manage.
Very interesting watching the development progress being made.
 
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macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
11,372
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Central U.S.
"It's a core technology that we view as very important. We sort of see it as the mother of all AI projects. It's probably one of the most difficult AI projects actually to work on."
What about Siri? That's an actual, shipped product that is lagging behind competitors and could really use some better AI, and yet they're faffing about with self driving cars.

I want to know what the end game is with this thing. Is this going to be a part of CarPlay or maybe something like a CarKit? Or is this like Apple figuring out multitouch before making the iPhone, but they can't be as secretive about it for obvious reasons?

I hope it's the latter because I'd rather have Apple make the hardware. Look no further than the range of quality issues with CarPlay hardware, along with the slow adoption/lack of HomeKit in a lot of products and you'll understand what I mean. A third option is Apple partnering with or buying an electric car maker once they have the software and an integrated hardware system (camera, lidar, etc) figured out.
 
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yaxomoxay

macrumors demi-god
Mar 3, 2010
5,542
30,512
Texas
In light of what happened with a Uber self-driving car hitting and killing a pedestrian, which apparently was the pedestrian's fault since I guess she came out of nowhere and was crossing on a non-crossing section of the street, couldn't the use of infrared cameras help in detecting people/animals who might no be seeing otherwise due to poor light conditions or weather? Just wondering....

The problem is that no matter what, you can’t stop instantly even if the driver’s/computer’s reaction to the hazard is instantaneous. This is true if you’re going at 10mph or 100mph.
 
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BruceEBonus

macrumors 65816
Sep 23, 2007
1,354
1,338
Derbyshire, England
Just been down the bookmakers. Asked to put a bet on self driving cars being a success. Ever! “Gerrourahere man!” Shouted the guy behind the desk (at least that’s what I think he shouted) He then stated incorrectly that we only have one car in our household. “One car. One car!” He guffawed. “I don’t see what my vehicle ownership has to do with this!” I protested. And as a final insult he then belittled me for having more than one item of headgear. “Two hats! You’re a one car, two hatting idiot!” He retorted. “There is no way we would gamble on that white elephant, sonny!” I was taken aback at His refusal to accept my bet. What were the odds eh, readers?”:cool:

(“Who is this guy? Delete this post after the next commercial break, please!” - Macrumors Ed)
 
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wozmatic

macrumors 6502
Apr 30, 2014
380
725
What about Siri? That's an actual, shipped product that is lagging behind competitors and could really use some better AI, and yet they're faffing about with self driving cars.

I want to know what the end game is with this thing. Is this going to be a part of CarPlay or maybe something like a CarKit? Or is this like Apple figuring out multitouch before making the iPhone, but they can't be as secretive about it for obvious reasons?

I hope it's the latter because I'd rather have Apple make the hardware. Look no further than the range of quality issues with CarPlay hardware, along with the slow adoption/lack of HomeKit in a lot of products and you'll understand what I mean. A third option is Apple partnering with or buying an electric car maker once they have the software and an integrated hardware system (camera, lidar, etc) figured out.

Agreed. Siri is a joke. Sadly from what I've read it looks like they need to rebuild from scratch again. I don't see this happening.

When you're at the top, they only way is down as everyone is after you.

This is getting more noticeable everyday with competitions tech improving and catching up, and in some instances it's better than Apples.

Also, with the marketplace and pricing, Apple's gauging will end up biting the hand that feeds them.

RIP Steve Jobs
 
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ravenstar

macrumors regular
Jan 12, 2005
247
453
In light of what happened with a Uber self-driving car hitting and killing a pedestrian, which apparently was the pedestrian's fault since I guess she came out of nowhere and was crossing on a non-crossing section of the street, couldn't the use of infrared cameras help in detecting people/animals who might no be seeing otherwise due to poor light conditions or weather? Just wondering....

Whether it would have helped in this instance, I can't say. But in general, it's impossible to eliminate the possibility that a pedestrian acting carelessly will be hit. No amount of sensors will alter the laws of physics that govern how quickly a moving vehicle can stop or how light travels through and around objects. A pedestrian that suddenly runs out from behind an obstacle, or that unexpectedly throws open a car door in front of another vehicle, or that abruptly turns into traffic off the sidewalk is taking their life in their hands. No technology can predict the unpredictable or see the unseeable.
 
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wigby

macrumors 68020
Jun 7, 2007
2,080
1,685
They buried the lead. Why did Google's permits decrease so much?
What about Siri? That's an actual, shipped product that is lagging behind competitors and could really use some better AI, and yet they're faffing about with self driving cars.

I want to know what the end game is with this thing. Is this going to be a part of CarPlay or maybe something like a CarKit? Or is this like Apple figuring out multitouch before making the iPhone, but they can't be as secretive about it for obvious reasons?

I hope it's the latter because I'd rather have Apple make the hardware. Look no further than the range of quality issues with CarPlay hardware, along with the slow adoption/lack of HomeKit in a lot of products and you'll understand what I mean. A third option is Apple partnering with or buying an electric car maker once they have the software and an integrated hardware system (camera, lidar, etc) figured out.
I don't think Apple fully knows the answers to your questions yet. In light of the recent news of the first pedestrian death by autonomous vehicle, I think Apple (and startups as well) is re-evaluating their role in this industry. Will they stay behind the scenes with an OS only? Will they put their name on an Apple-branded car? Will they only work with an autonomous ride sharing service?

As far as Siri, I have the same questions and do hope they address these at WWDC. But as far as voice assistants, I think Apple is still in wait and see mode even if it's 7 years later. Even though smart speakers seem to be everywhere, I believe Apple is still doesn't see the true value of them. I think HomePod was an Apple Music product and Siri on mobile iOS devices is caught between two different models of operation. All voice assistants from Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple are barely useful compared to their promise of utility and functionality. I just hope that Apple is prepared to leapfrog the competition with the next generation of Siri.
 
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