Various signals point to a self-driving Apple Car sometime in the foreseeable future. The latest indication, according to a report from The Guardian, is that Apple senior legal counsel Mike Maletic met with self-driving experts from the California Department of Motor Vehicles on August 17.
While the department was tight-lipped regarding the discussion, it did confirm that “the Apple meeting was to review [the] DMV’s autonomous vehicle regulations” that went into effect last September, according to the story.
The California DMV is developing regulations for “autonomous” vehicles, and its rules will establish the requirements for manufacturers to certify the proper testing and standards that vehicles must meet for safe operation on the road. Volkswagen-Audi, General Motors, Nissan, Continental and Google have also participated in such discussions. The rules that emerge from California will likely serve as national guidelines later on.
The DMV is currently responsible for overseeing a statewide autonomous vehicle tester program for self-driving cars on public roads: 10 companies now have permits for about 80 autonomous vehicles and about 300 test drivers, the report said.
The Apple conversation comes at the same time as Google and Uber are both developing self-driving cars and Google already has a number of robot cars tooling around California streets. Just today, the Verge reported that Google has deployed some tiny prototype self-driving cars on the streets of Austin.
Apple has not formally confirmed or denied the existence of an Apple Car, despite the monumental speculation surrounding such a possibility. Earlier this week, CEO Tim Cook flitted away a question about it on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert [scrub to 3:49].
➤ Apple meets California officials to discuss self-driving car [The Guardian]