Apple has more than doubled the number of its autonomous cars, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Since gaining permission to test autonomous vehicles, Apple's fleet size has risen from just three test cars to 27 in January; now there are 55 intelligent machines. If the program remains on target, consumers could be looking to be driving one by as early as 2019.
The intake has been taken by 83 drivers who will be testing the vehicles. Although at this point, Apple hasn't been authorised to test self-driving cars devoid of human supervision, the company will need to submit a separate permit to the DMV, which is something that Waymo did in April. The DMV has also revealed that a second unnamed company had requested approval to begin driverless testing, but it hasn't given any additional details.
Tesla and Drive.Ai are lagging behind Apple seem to be lagging behind, but California-native GM Cruise seem to be leading the pack with 104 vehicles with self-driving capacity.
One of the largest problems regarding automated technology is safety implications. The recent fatal accident involving one of Uber's self-driving prototypes, allegedly due to misaligned software, couldn't be halted by the test driver in time.
This shows a margin of error that is worth considering before heading into fully self-driving trials, before the public can accept autonomous cars as a reliable alternative; we need to gain their trust.
There is always a risk of mechanical failure, and human error can't be overlooked. However, if problems and developed adequate prevention measures are calculated in advance, the number of accidents could experience a significant drop.
Although this may push back release schedules, autonomous safety will always be top priority.
All Vehicle Contracts Ltd Published: May 16 2018