Calif. Regulators Approve Apple Self-Driving Permit

More than two years after speculation about an "Apple Car" first surfaced, the tech giant received a permit from California regulators to begin testing an autonomous driving system.

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More than two years after speculation about an "Apple Car" first surfaced, the tech giant received a permit from California regulators to begin testing an autonomous driving system.

The Associated Press reports that the California Department of Motor Vehicles approved a permit for six individuals to sit behind the wheel of three self-driving 2015 Lexus RX 450h hybrid SUVs.

The company did not comment beyond confirming the permit.

Reports of a secretive vehicle project at Apple first came to light in early 2015. That initiative, known as "Project Titan," was likely halted after a series of technical problems and leadership changes.

Apple's efforts instead turned to autonomous driving software, and the company provided the clearest indicator of its automotive ambitions late last year when it weighed in on federal efforts to regulate testing.

The maker of the iPad and iPhone is reportedly the 30th company to receive an autonomous driving permit in California — a list that includes tech industry rivals, conventional automakers and ambitious startups.

Google and its spin-off company Waymo tested a self-driving system in the state for years, but the AP noted that Apple could catch up quickly if it chooses to utilize some of its $246 billion in cash reserves.

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