Apple is stepping up its work on autonomous vehicle technology, as the company expanded its test fleet to 27 self-driving cars in California.
Apple initially registered three vehicles for self-driving testing purposes with California's Department of Motor Vehicles in April last year. In less than a year, Apple appears to have made significant progress in the development of the technology, though the company remains very secretive about the project.
Apple Expands Self-Driving Fleet To 27 Vehicles
According to a Bloomberg report, Apple has added 24 more vehicles to its initial fleet of only three self-driving cars, bringing the total to 27. All the vehicles are Lexus RX450h hybrid SUVs, said the California DMV in an emailed response.
Apple acquired two more Lexus SUVs for the purpose in July last year, seven more in October, two more in November, six more in December, and seven more this month.
Apple is apparently ramping up its efforts on the development of its self-driving car system, likely in an attempt to catch up with other companies working on the technology such as Alphabet's Waymo.
The company's work on driverless car technology started with the ambition to create an entire vehicle from scratch under the codename Project Titan. However, since then, Apple has scaled back its plans, with the company now working instead on a self-driving car platform that automobile manufacturers can use on their vehicles.
Apple Still Won't Talk About Project Titan
As testing of its self-driving technology started in California, Apple could no longer deny the existence of Project Titan. In an interview last June with Bloomberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook admitted that the company was working on an autonomous car system, which he described as "the mother of all AI projects."
News on Project Titan, however, have been very few and far in between, as Apple still would not talk about the secretive project. In October 2017, the Apple self-driving car technology was spotted in the streets of Silicon Valley in the form of an array of sensors and hardware on the roof of a Lexus SUV. The rack of sensors and hardware included six Velodyne LIDAR sensors, along with several cameras and radar units. A month after, Apple published research that detailed a new software for improving obstacle detection for driverless vehicles.
It remains to be seen when Apple will disclose the important details of Project Titan. However, with the expansion of its test fleet to 27 vehicles, Apple may be getting closer to finally officially unveiling the technology.