Apple Has Bigger Autonomous Car Fleet Than Uber, Tesla, Google

The 2015 Lexus RX450h is Apple's vehicle of choice

The 2015 Lexus RX450h is Apple's vehicle of choice

Apple Apple now has 55 vehicles and 83 drives under its permit to test autonomous vehicles, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) said in an emailed response to questions.

Apple's 55-vehicle fleet is the second largest in California, behind only Cruise, a self-driving company owned by GM, which sports a 104-strong fleet.

To put this into perspective, Apple had roughly 45 self driving vehicles back in January of this year.

Behind Apple lags Waymo, which has 51 vehicles registered in California, and Tesla, which has 39 vehicles. That puts it four cars ahead of the latest figures we have for Waymo, Alphabet's self-driving auto division thought to be among the leaders in the sector. Uber previously operated a sizable fleet of self-driving cars in California, but its testing program has been suspended in the wake of a fatal crash in Arizona.

Apple's mysterious fleet is perhaps one of the biggest secrets the company has held, and the company has yet to confirm this new report.

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Nonetheless, it underlines how seriously Apple is taking this technology.

Last April, Apple first received a permit to test autonomous vehicles in the state starting with only three Lexus Rx450h SUVs. Sources said that Uber along with Waymo used to have a more autonomous vehicle in California, for instance, both have over 100 self-driving cars in the state before moving part of its fleet to Arizona where additional testing is now taking place.

Tim Cook said, "We sort of see it as the mother of all AI projects".

Each participant in this self-driving auto race must have a safety driver in the vehicle during testing.

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