Apple's California Self-Driving Car Test Fleet Continues to Grow


Apple is said to employ 83 drivers for its fleet, far less than the 407 of GM or even the 338 Waymo drivers with approved permits. The company's fleet of autonomous cars that are out on public roads is gradually increasing and according to a new report, Apple has a total of over 50 autonomous cars on public roads as of now. At this stage, Apple hasn't been authorized to test self-driving cars independent of human supervision; for that, the company will need to submit a separate permit to the DMV - something Waymo did last month. The recent fatal accident involving one of Uber's self-driving prototypes - apparently due to misaligned software - couldn't be stopped by the test driver in time. The company first received a permit to test autonomous vehicles in the state last April, starting with only three Lexus Rx450h SUVs.

Apple still lags far behind General Motor's Cruise division, which leads the pack with 104 vehicles. That gives it the second-largest fleet in the US, ahead of Waymo's 51 cars, but still well behind GM Cruise, which boasts 104. The number of cars is more than companies like Google, Uber, Waymo. It does not appear on the May 9 list seen by Business Insider.

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Apple still hasn't publicly announced its plans when it comes to autonomous cars. Apple CEO Tim Cook has called self-driving "a core technology that we view as very important". "It's probably one of the most hard AI projects actually to work on", Cook said last summer. Waymo applied for that permit.