Apple was added to the list of 29 other companies, including Tesla, Google, Ford and Mercedes, that are testing or planning to test self-driving vehicles in the state of California, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles’s (DMV) website Friday.
The permit allows Apple to test vehicles in autonomous mode on public roads.
It’s unclear if Apple sought to obtain a permit because it wanted to test-drive its own autonomous vehicles or if the company was simply looking to experiment with the rumored autonomous driving features in a future CarPlay version.
Musa Tariq, Apple’s executive, is leaving the company to join Ford, the car maker said Tuesday.
Tariq was Apple’s global marketing and communications director for retail for a little more than two years. At Ford, he will be Vice President and Chief Brand Officer, a new position created as the company focuses on new mobility services.
Lisa Jackson, Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, is listed as one of the 25 members who joined the United States Department of Transportation’s (DOT) new Automation Committee. This means that the iPhone maker will play an active role in overseeing self-driving vehicles and helping determine the future of transportation.
Prior to joining Apple in 2013 to lead environmental initiatives, Lisa Jackson served as Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
According to DOT’s press release Thursday, the new advisory committee is scheduled to hold its first meeting on January 16 to immediately begin work on “some of the most pressing and relevant matters facing transportation today,” including the development and deployment of automated vehicles.
Apple was trying “very hard” (in Elon Musk’s own words) to recruit top talent from Tesla.
Now that its Project Titan has shifted gear from building an electric vehicle to developing an autonomous driving software, some of the engineers associated with the initiative have departed for Tesla.
Just as we’ve discovered that Swift creator Chris Lattner was leaving the iPhone maker to take a position as Vice President of Autopilot Software at Tesla, Electrek.co is reporting that the guy who designed many of Apple’s iconic Macs will now be building Tesla vehicles.
Earlier this year, Apple poached Alexander Hitzinger, the former technical director of Porsche’s race car program who helped the car maker return to the Le Mans endurance race, a company source told Reuters last Friday. The move was first reported by Germany’s Manager Magazin.
Volkswagen-owned Porsche officially confirmed Hitzinger had left the luxury carmaker in the spring, but didn’t share any further information.
Following its decision to exit the smartphone hardware business and focus on software, Blackberry today opened a new research and development center in Ottawa, Canada. The facility is dedicated to the development of autonomous driving software. According to Reuters, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended the launch.
The facility is being run by Blackberry subsidiary QNX, which makes advanced driver assistance and autonomous vehicle technology used by car makers worldwide.
Over the past few months, Apple has been quietly hiring engineers away from Here, a Berlin-based automotive mapping company, for mapping jobs in Berlin. Interestingly, Apple’s never publicly confirmed that it has an office in Berlin.
According to LinkedIn profiles discovered by Business Insider, Apple’s poached at least half a dozen employees from Here, jointly owned by German car makers Audi, BMW and Daimler.
ChargePoint operates the world’s largest electric vehicle charging network. As of today, ChargePoint’s electric vehicle stations in the U.S. can be found through Apple Maps, as reported by 9to5Mac. And because ChargePoint accepts Apple Pay, users can even initiate charging via Apple Maps and complete their payment with a touch of a finger.
ChargePoint locations appear on the map as badges that can be tapped to reveal information like business hours, pricing, whether or not they accept Apple Pay at that particular location and more.
Back in September, The Financial Times, The New York Times and Bloomberg ran reports that Apple was considering either a full takeover bid or at least a large investment in the British supercar maker McLaren Automotive. A potential acquisition was valued at between $1.3 billion and $1.9 billion though McLaren later said it was “not in discussion with Apple in respect of any potential investment.”
Saturday, McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt confirmed in an interview with Reuters that his company did hold talks with Apple after all, but said the discussions never progressed towards a definitive proposition.
Project Titan, Apple’s ambitious initiative to build an electric vehicle by 2020-2021 reportedly fell apart amid management crisis, supply chain issues and departures, prompting the company’s leadership to shift gears and focus on autonomous self-driving software, for now.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported Monday that Apple will decide fate of self-driving software by late 2017 as the new direction no longer includes building its own car.
Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster had been infamously predicting an Apple-branded HDTV set for years before eventually giving up on that dream. Last we heard from him was when he called for an S-upgrade to the Apple Watch in February 2016 (he may have gotten that one right; the timing, not so much).
He’s back now with some interesting thoughts (via AppleWorldToday) on Apple’s rumored electric vehicle and assumed virtual reality headset hardware.