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.
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.
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.