Apple's self-driving car seen on the road for first time

Apple's self-driving car seen on the road for first time

28 APRIL 2017 • 10:59AM

It is no secret that Apple has been working furiously to develop self-driving car technology in a bid to compete with rivals including Google and Tesla. Until now, the operation has been kept from the public eye.

Images have emerged of Apple's first autonomous car on the roads of Silicon Valley. The car appears to be a Lexus RX450h that is fitted with a range of sensors, radar scanners and cameras.

From the initial sighting, the car seems to use similar technology to efforts by competitors. Apple's car is fitted with a array of sensors for navigation including one called lidar, which has recently become the focus of a high-profile lawsuit between Google and Uber.

Some of the sensors appeared to be made by third party companies, rather than Apple itself, someone who saw the vehicle told Bloomberg.

Apple is reported to be developing the software that powers the autonomous vehicles, rather than the hardware. The company has been investing heavily in machine learning and autonomous systems, it said at the end of last year.

Tim Cook notably said the car industry should expect "massive change" back in 2015. After belief in the company's ability to make its own autonomous vehicle wavered, it changed tack to focus on software.  

The sighting comes a fortnight after the iPhone giant was granted permission to test three vehicles on California's roads.

Apple has reportedly held talks with Volkswagen and BMW regarding the technology.

It comes as Uber announced the head of its driverless car division Anthony Levandowski is stepping aside in the wake of the lawsuit with Google.


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