More reports about Apple's self-driving plans have now made their way onto the web, with the company tipped to be gearing for its first self-driving tests.
Apparently, Apple has developed what's called an "Apple Automated System" for self-driving cars.
It has also developed "Development Platform Specific Training," which puts employees through a training program that teaches them how to operate and handle vehicles under the company's automated system. This will occur ahead of the company's purported self-driving road tests in California.
Development Platform Specific Training
That's according to documents obtained by Business Insider. The papers allude to the Cupertino, California-based company's self-driving software it's rumored to be building, reportedly after plans for a self-driving vehicle failed.
The California DMV recently granted Apple a permit allowing it to test self-driving vehicles on civilian roads, and as part of those tests, the company appears to be enlisting employees to train them how to use whatever system it plans on leveraging.
The DMV says that Apple plans to use three 2015 Lexus RX450h SUVs, to be driven by six drivers who are experts in areas such as machine learning.
Some of these employees hail from Tesla or Bosch, as per their LinkedIn profiles.
Knowledge of Apple's self-driving plans only stretch as far as the DMV permit. Specific metrics, such as the software that will be used, has been kept mostly under wraps, with Apple highly laconic about such plans, if not totally silent. That is, of course, until now, with the documents hitting the web.
The documents include a walk-through of the Development Platform Specific Training in addition to details about the Apple Automated System.
Apple Automated System
As per the documents, the platform fuses hardware and software "to monitor surrounding objects and events." The technology is able to send "electronic commands for steering, accelerating, and decelerating and may carry out portions of the dynamic driving task," according to an Apple official, writing on a government form.
The training program includes, among others, instructions on how to intervene or regain control of the self-driving vehicle when necessary.
Drivers Required To Pass Seven Tests
The documents state that drivers need to pass seven tests before working with Apple's self-driving platform. Each must finish two practice runs and three trial tests on a private course, it appears.
Apple is said to be creating this driving system under the helm of Bob Mansfield, and reports say that Apple has given the team until the end of 2017 to prove the feasibility of a self-driving vehicle platform. Suppose the tests prove Apple's platform as feasible, efficient, and market-ready, automakers may cozy up to the company to unveil work on self-driving cars.
As it hits the road, Apple's self-driving plans will lose secrecy even further, especially since California law dictates that Apple's work needs to be publicly shared with the DMV.
Apple's Self-Driving Platform Will Compete With Uber, Google
Apple is already in competition with Google in terms of hardware and software, but with the former's imminent self-driving plans, it's bound to also compete with Google's self-driving unit. This also renders Apple in competition with Uber, which is also currently testing self-driving technology. Above all, Apple is competing with Tesla's autopilot technology.
Analysts believe that autonomous cars are bound to become worth tens of billions of dollars, and it's not surprising why top-rank companies are fighting hard to win the self-driving race.
However, Google and Uber are both hitting a roadblock, with the two duking out a potentially furious legal battle over intellectual property theft.
Take a look at some of the pages from Apple's self-driving plans below.