Apple Set to Test Self-Driving Cars in California - Carlos GaminoBy Carlos Gamino

A few years behind Google and about 30 other companies, Apple has finally applied for a permit to begin testing self-driving cars in California. They’re using three Lexus RX 450h hybrid sport utility vehicles to undertake Project Titan, and CEO Tim Cook says the company is ready.

“We are always looking at new things, and the car space in general is an area that it’s clear that there are a lot of technologies that will either become available or will be able to revolutionize the car experience,” Cook said last October.

In a statement issued last December, Apple said, “Apple uses machine learning to make its products and services smarter, more intuitive and more personal. The company is investing heavily in the study of machine learning and automation, and is excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation.”

Analysts believe that self-driving vehicles are about to give way to a market worth tens of billions of dollars in the next few years. However, in mid-2016, a self-driving Tesla was involved in a fatal crash that cast doubts on the future of the industry.

Apple doesn’t appear interested in manufacturing their own cars, like Tesla and General Motors are. Instead, they appear to be focused on gadgets and software that runs behind the scenes—much like Google is. (Last year, Google announced their plans to adapt 100 Chrysler minivans to their self-driving technology.)

What Do You Think?

Would you ride in a self-driving car if you could take control of the vehicle when necessary? Do you think this is a budding new industry, or is it a fad that won’t really go anywhere? I’d love to hear what you think, so please share your thoughts on my Facebook page or on Twitter.

Carlos Gamino