A month after Volvo got an order of 100 self-driving cars from Uber, Apple has hinted that it will enter the driverless cars market where bigwigs like Tesla and Google have already made deep inroads.
According to a report in The Verge, the Cupertino-based tech giant — under its so-called Project Titan — has submitted a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, stating that it is “investing heavily in the study of machine learning and automation, and is excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation”.
The letter is Apple’s official comment on the federal government’s automated vehicle guidelines, released last September.
Interestingly, Apple’s letter is signed by Steven Kenner — the company’s head of product integrity who up until recently was the global director of automotive safety at Ford.
“Apple agrees that companies should share de-identified scenario and dynamics data from crashes and near-misses. By sharing data, the industry will build a more comprehensive dataset than any one company could create alone,” Kenner’s letter was quoted as saying.
Recently reports surfaced suggesting that the company is not attempting to build its own electric car but is focused on developing self-driving software it can deploy in partnership with existing carmakers.
“This letter comes amid news that hundreds of members of Apple’s 1,000-employee-strong car team have been reassigned, let go, or have left of their own volition,” the report pointed out.
In October, Uber ordered 100 self-driving vehicles from the Swedish company Volvo.
The news came after an 18-wheeler self-driving Volvo trailer drove from Fort Collins, Colorado, to Colorado Springs, bearing 50,000 cans of Budweiser beer.
The Volvo truck, equipped with cameras and sensors, was owned by Otto, a self-driving truck company acquired by Uber earlier this year.