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Apple’s autonomous fleet is now the second-largest in the US

APPLE IS RUNNING more than 50 autonomous cars around California, the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles has told Mac Reports.

The company’s fleet is growing faster than a hipster’s beard; from three in April 2017 to 45 in March this year, and now 55 (which we assume are programmed to constantly remind their flannel-shirted occupants how cool, hip and trendy they’re being). That gives it the second-largest fleet in the USA, ahead of Waymo’s 51 cars, but still well behind GM Cruise, which boasts 104.

Alongside the new cars, Apple has 83 drivers (compared to GM’s frankly ludicrous 407) who need to sit inside every time they move. The company hasn’t yet applied for a driverless testing permit, so all of the cars need to be accompanied by a human – presumably to stop situations like this:

Like other tech giants, Apple is keen to get into the car space, with Tim Cook last year saying that autonomous systems are “a core technology” that the company views as “very important”.

He added, “We sort of see autonomous cars as the mother of all AI projects It’s probably one of the most difficult AI projects actually to work on. Autonomy is something that is incredibly exciting for us, and we will see where it takes us.”

It’s likely that we’ll never see an iCar, exactly – where Apple looks after the entire design process, like an iPhone. A model where the firm licenses its tech to others seems much more likely, despite it being a significant departure from Apple’s normal way of doing business. µ

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