The iPhone of cars? Apple enters self-driving car race

On Friday, the company obtained an autonomous testing permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles, according to DMV records. Steve Kenner, Apple's director of product integrity, wrote a letter in November urging government regulators not to put too many restrictions on autonomous cars.

The permit allows Apple to test drive three different vehicles with six different "drivers" sitting behind the wheel. This is the most likely case for Apple right now, as it is definitely not in the car-making business. Examples of companies holding autonomous testing permits in California include Google, Tesla, and Bosch. This suggests, as Gizmodo says, that Apple is likely more interested in keeping up with the technology itself than in actually producing a auto.

Apple declined to comment on the report but referred to a statement the company made past year after it wrote a letter [PDF] to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about the agency's proposed policy for driverless vehicles.

In October, Bloomberg reported that Apple's new approach would be to develop self-driving vehicle technology and sell it to automakers, instead of making its own auto from the wheels up.

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A Lexus spokesman told The Post he had no "specific information" on why Apple chose its model, but added that its hybrid crossover SUVs "are a popular choice among companies looking to test future technologies".

Now it appears that Apple are shortly to reveal what it has been up to in relation to automotive-related projects.

Apple is pleased to provide the following comments on the proposed Federal Automated Vehicles Policy (Policy), published by the Department of Transportation and the National Highway TraSafety Administration (NHTSA). The Cupertino-based tech giant has always been rumored to be developing its own self-driving vehicle - or the technology for it, at the very least - but the company continuously refused to comment on this speculation.

Companies that wish to test vehicles must provide evidence that they can train qualified employee drivers, can insure their cars and will be liable for any damage incurred during tests.

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