After news surfaced last week that Apple has applied for permits to test self-driving technology on roads in California, a further dose of information has been released that suggests Apple now has a full plan to bring their cars to consumers.
An Apple autonomous car, the documents state, would use what is being referred to as an ‘Apple Autonomous System’. This is the system that the tech giant is expected to create and then sell on to other carmakers after the company’s plans to build their own Apple Car fell through last year after a rumoured acquisition of McLaren Technology Group fell through (or didn’t actually happen, depending on who you talk to).
The documents that have been revealed this week (from Business Insider) also have a guide for Apple employees on the ‘Development Platform Specific Training’ that is designed to teach staff how to control the automated vehicles that will be part of the testing.
“The development platform uses hardware and software to monitor surrounding objects and events,” and is “capable of sending electronic commands for steering, accelerating, and decelerating and may carry out portions of the dynamic driving task,” an Apple official wrote in a government document.
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Although this sounds like a typical autonomous driving technology, it’s likely that Apple has something up its sleeve to make it stand out from the rest. It’s possible that just by putting their brand-name on the technology, it would make carmakers purchase the software and hardware developed by the company; however, it could also serve to reassure consumers that a car has autonomous technology developed by a renowned software developer.
Employees need to pass seven tests in order to be approved for the responsibility of overriding the car should anything go wrong. Those tests include stopping the car if it decides to start accelerating incorrectly, taking control of the steering if the system steers off course, taking control of the vehicle if the system tries to make an illegal turn or action, and more.
Images from the California DMV show examples of how the driver would be able to take control of the vehicle if the car veered off course.