On Friday, April 14, California's DMV updated their webpage on Testing of Autonomous Vehicles, officially adding Apple's name to the list of companies allowed to test autonomous vehicles in the State.
Though Apple has yet to officially announce that they are working on self-driving cars, having them on the official list of companies confirms that they are, indeed, quietly working their way to the autonomous automobile industry.
The company has kept mum about their plans regarding their movement toward the automotive industry, but has kept a trail of breadcrumbs for people to follow.
In October, CEO Tim Cook did not directly address press queries about the rumors of the company's movements in the car arena, but did point out that the company is always on the lookout for new things, and that the automobile industry has a lot of technologies that can be developed.
Despite the pronouncements that intrigued many, still, they did not make any announcements.
Perhaps a clearer sign of Apple's concrete movements in autonomous vehicles is when Apple's director of product integrity, Steve Kenner, wrote a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2016 stating the company's substantial investments in the study of machine learning and automation, and expressed the company's excitement in the potentials of automation, including the area of transportation.
If writing a letter to the NHTSA isn't a clear enough sign of the company's intent, then perhaps this latest development of having their name listed as the 30th company to test autonomous vehicles in the sunny state should be enough proof.
What's even more interesting about this piece of news is that having their name officially listed at the DMV could perhaps means that they have gone beyond the study of automation, and have gone on to the testing phase of an actual product, something that a spokesperson from the DMV confirmed.
"The permit covers three vehicles, all 2015 Lexus RX450h, and six drivers," said the spokesperson to Business Insider.
While it is still unclear whether Apple will soon make any announcement about the company's expansion to a completely different industry altogether, just like Intel, it is very clear that Apple is ready to advance and move beyond computers and mobile technology.
Since the adoption of California DMV's autonomous vehicle testing regulations, many big names have applied apply for the permission to test their autonomous vehicle prototypes. With Apple as the 30th name on the list, it also includes other big names such as Subaru, Ford, Tesla Motors, Faraday & Future Inc., and Volkswagen.