There’s still a way to go before the tech giant catches up with the like of Alphabet Inc’s Waymo, but Apple is very proud to announce there are now 27 vehicles making up its artificial intelligence (AI) self-driving test fleet.
Waymo however has more than 600 AI-based cars as part of its fleet and is operating in 6 different states already.
The first wave of AI autonomous cars received their permit last April and it consisted of just three cars.
Now the company’s added another two dozen autonomous Lexus SUVs to its existing AI self-driving fleet. Expanding its fleet to 27 vehicles shows just how serious the company is when it comes to self-driving cars.
These extra additions to the fleet didn’t happen all at once. According to the DMV’s records two were added in July 2017, seven in October 2017, two in November 2017, six in December 2017, and seven in January 2018.
CEO Tim Cook revealed last year that there was a whole team working on developing AI autonomous car technology, so it’s of no real surprise to learn of this increase to the fleet.
Project Titan is the codename for the company’s self-driving car program. Just last year Cook confirmed that Apple will be “focusing on autonomous systems” as opposed to an Apple-branded vehicle.
You’ll certainly know it’s one of Apple’s test vehicles when you see it. Those that have spotted them have reported that the vehicles appear to be kitted out with a range of third-party sensors and hardware.
This includes six LIDAR sensors, various radar units, and several cameras all encased in that distinctive Apple white plastic.
One of the reasons as to why companies are so keen to jump on board with this technology is that autonomous cars are so cheap to produce in comparison to traditional cars as both development and manufacturing costs are lower.
Taxi firms are being replaced by ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft too as we shift towards this autonomous driving society. Other companies also jumping on the autonomous car bandwagon include Volkswagen and General Motors Co.
In a recent leaderboard analysis carried out by Navigant Research, Apple came second to last in the autonomous vehicle race.
With so many different companies fighting for the top spot, Apple has some serious work to do if it wants to even come close to winning the pole position.