Apple has added to the number of test drivers for its “Apple Car” autonomous vehicle project. The move comes following a significant cutback in test driver numbers earlier this year.
Apple’s much-rumored vehicle has been in development and testing for close to a decade. This is not unusual, as Apple traditionally spends several years developing and testing a product before making a decision on whether or not to release it.
According to data published by the California DMV in March 2023, Apple had 66 vehicles and 201 drivers registered for autonomous driving capabilities testing on public roads. However, that number reportedly slipped to 145 drivers in April 2023.
However, an article by macReports claims that the number of test drivers has again risen, as 152 drivers are now working on the project. While that’s still a lower number of drivers than Apple employed in March, the fact that the figure has risen at all indicates Apple is still pushing forward with its automotive project.
As is usual for Apple, the Cupertino firm has yet to officially announce that it is working on an “Apple Car” at all. However, the macReports article indicates that the company has had to report details of a collision when one of Apple’s Lexus test vehicles was rear-ended while sitting at a stop sign sometime during May of this year.
California has recently seen an increase in the number of driverless vehicles being tested in the Golden State, as other firms in addition to Apple have been licensed to take to the streets in driverless vehicles. Mercedes joined the ranks of automakers testing driverless vehicles in June when it received authorization to deploy self-driving vehicles. Notably, Apple has yet to apply for a permit for driverless automobile testing.
As of June, there are four licensed manufacturers testing driverless vehicles, including Mercedes, Nuro, Cruise, and Waymo.
Early on it was expected that we would see Apple begin an Apple Car production run in 2024. However, analysts have stated that the current state of self-driving technologies and their limitations may have caused delays in the Apple Car release.