Cars

Apple receives permit to test self-driving cars in California

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.

Apple joins U.S. Department of Transportation’s new Automation Committee

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.

Senior Director of Design for Mac lineup leaves Apple for engineering role at Tesla

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.

Apple poached race car engineer from Porsche

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.

Blackberry opens brand new autonomous driving research center in Ottawa, Canada

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.

Apple has been quietly poaching engineers from automotive mapping company Here

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.

McLaren confirms it was in talks with Apple that never “matured to a definitive proposition”

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.

Sony announces $499 aftermarket CarPlay audio system, arriving in November

If you mind buying a brand spanking new car just to get CarPlay, aftermarket solutions from Pioneer, Alpine and Kenwood allow you to add Apple’s in-car infotainment system to older vehicles.

Now Japanese consumer electronics giant Sony has unveiled its first-ever in-car audio system with CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

It sports high-fidelity sound and includes voice command features, Siri integration with support for Maps, Music and iMessage features, plus other perks.