For all the bad press autonomous cars have been getting, Apple is not slowing down its focus on the platform. Apple’s goal of developing a self-driving car may be over, but it’s ambitions to develop self-driving technology is as strong as ever. That’s none more evident by the sheer amount of self-driving cars it has on the road right now.
According to the Financial Times, Apple has nearly doubled the number of autonomous vehicles it has deployed with permits on the streets of California from 27 in January to 45 in March. That figure is more than its competitors – Waymo, Uber and Tesla – have on the road in California.
There is a caveat worth noting. Most of Apple’s competitors have begun shifting their autonomous programs to Arizona, likely leading to reduced California numbers, but still, Apple has made big strides in the past year. Just last April, Apple only had three autonomous cars on the road.
Apple’s autonomous fleet in California now only trails Cruise Automation, which reportedly stands at 110.
However, autonomous car programs may face some serious restrictions moving forward. Yesterday, one of Uber’s self-driving cars struck and killed a pedestrian. This is the first known case of an autonomous car killing a person, and thus has gained a high degree of attention. In the aftermath, Uber has pulled its self-driving cars from the road.
It remains unclear how this will affect not just Uber, but companies like Apple who have budding autonomous car projects.