Volkswagen, Tesla, and Mercedes Benz are all companies you’d expect to see testing self-driving cars in California. But a new, unexpected name just joined the list: Apple.
As found on California’s DMV site, Apple is listed among a few dozen companies that have received the necessary permits to test autonomous vehicles in the Golden State.
Apple’s self-driving car ambitions have been rumored for months—years even—so it isn’t that unusual to see the company seek out a permit to begin testing self-driving cars. Apple has reportedly been working on building an autonomous vehicle, code named Project Titan, for several years. Now, things appear to be taking shape.
— kif leswing (@kifleswing) April 14, 2017
Executives at Apple have never outright said the company is making a self-driving car—or, at the very least, developing software to be included in future vehicles. But people have called it the an “open secret” in Silicon Valley, and the award of a permit is the biggest indication yet the Cupertino company has something in the works.
Apple joins a growing list of companies testing autonomous vehicles in California, which includes Google, Faraday Future, and GM, so there’s plenty of competition in the space.
What’s Apple’s plan?
According to a DMV statement issued to TechCrunch, the permit given to Apple covers all 2015 Lexus RX540h, which is the same car Google has been using for testing. Now, whether Apple actually hits the road with its self-driving technology remains to be seen.
Companies like Google are already miles ahead (pun intended) of Apple in terms of testing, so Apple has plenty of work ahead if it wants to catch up.