The race to the driverless finish line just got more challenging as Apple seems to have joined the pack. Friday, the global superpower secured a permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles that allows them to test autonomous cars in the state.
For several years, Apple has been rumored to be working on driverless cars with their secretive "Project Titan" being the code name for their self-driving work. Apple has never made a public statement on this project, but in 2016, the company sent a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration addressing their driverless policy. In the letter, they admitted that Apple was "vesting heavily in the study of machine learning and automation, and is excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation."
Apple is continuing its tight-lipped habits, releasing no comment on the permit they received. It is still unclear whether Apple intends to build its own autonomous vehicle or simply the software behind one.
California is quite the driverless hub these days, with all the major players like Waymo, Uber, Tesla, and General Motors all developing their own projects and vehicles. It's the Gold Rush all over again. Except, like, with robotic cars.