Driverless car, Apple too gets on board

The tech company has always sidestepped clear comments on its driverless car development strategies, but recent events prove that Apple is now accelerating so as not to lag behind the progress of Waymo, the company launched by Google that deals with the driverless car.

Published on 20 Feb 2018

Barbara Bosco


The Cupertino giant has increased its fleet from 3 to 27 cars registered for tests on the roads of California. An increase suggesting that even the “bitten-apple” company wants to play its game in the mobility of the future, although so far very little information has been available about it, an attitude leading to all sorts of rumors about its Titan Project.
Waymo-Google is now well advanced in testing and relies on Fca to launch its own driverless cabs, as recently announced: the company led by Sergio Marchionne by the end of the year will begin delivery to Waymo of Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans to be the fleet of the first white-driverless car service, with thousands of vehicles being targeted.
The two companies have been moving in this direction since time, even in the second half of 2016 Fca delivered to Waymo the first 100 minivans mentioned, then equipped with driverless technology including a purpose-built computer, sensors and several systems including telematics one. A further 500 were shipped in 2017. The Alphabet group company and former Google driverless car project already did driverless car tests last November where no human being is on the driver side. A driverless car, therefore, roamed the streets of a city with no human being on the driver side, ready to take back control in case anything goes wrong, first in history. The test has been performed on Phoenix roads, in the State of Arizona, USA.
Furthermore, clearly relevant, Waymo already developed its insurance business, which raises a number of questions with regard to the driverless car. As mentioned in this article, in fact, Waymo will offer customers the insurance coverage integrated with its driverless taxi service, thanks to the agreement with the startup Trov.
Therefore, until proven otherwise, it’s fair to think that all the other companies are chasing Google’ spin off, including Apple: The company has expanded its fleet of driverless cars by 900% acquiring 24 Lexus RX450h thus bringing from 3 to 27 the cars that Apple has registered for tests on the roads of California.
According to Apple specialized press, Cupertino has long since dropped its ambition to build its own driverless car from scratch, focusing instead on driving systems and, above all, on the software element: an aim confirmed by the same CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, who last year explained that the focus of the company is on driverless systems rather than on the idea of keeping its logo on the hood of a car.
With the widening of the fleet, Apple seems to have accelerated its research programme: a large number of new Lexus cars have been seen on Californian roads, with a number of sensors and uplink on the roof.

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Barbara Bosco

Giornalista pubblicista e web copywriter, lavora soprattutto per stampa specializzata, web e collabora con agenzie di stampa e di comunicazione.

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