Looks like Apple’s finally stepping on the gas. We’ve now got confirmation that Apple’s gearing up to make a big move in the auto industry.
Cupertino’s been granted a permit to test self-driving cars in California, according to DMV records. The permit, first reported by Business Insider, follows months of rumors about Apple’s efforts to build a car.
Apple’s exact plans in the space aren’t yet clear, but as of Friday, April 14th, Apple’s holding a permit to test three self-driving Lexus RX540h SUVs, according to the California DMV. The state requires carmakers and others to apply for permits before they can test self driving vehicles on state roads—remember Uber’s squabble with the DMV over permits late last year?
While Apple was once thought to be working on its own car, there are plenty of people who now believe that the company’s focusing on the software for autonomous vehicles, instead of, say, the iCar, or whatever they’d call it.
When reached for comment by Business Insider and The Wall Street Journal, Apple directed everyone to a letter it sent to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) last year. In it, the company wrote that it’s “investing heavily in the study of machine learning and automation” and is also “excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation.”
In other words: Basically, yeah, we’re getting into the car biz. And now we know how they’re going to start going about doing it. And now California residents also know: If you see a Lexus RX540h SUV with a suspiciously casual looking driver at the wheel, by all means, take out that iPhone, snap away, and for the love of god, get in touch.