Apple meets California DMV officials to discuss ‘autonomous vehicle’

“Apple executives have discussed their plans for an ‘autonomous vehicle’ with officials at California’s department of motor vehicles (DMV),” Mark Harris reports for The Guardian.

“According to documents obtained by the Guardian, Mike Maletic, a senior legal counsel at Apple, had an hour-long meeting on 17 August with the department’s self-driving car experts Bernard Soriano, DMV deputy director, and Stephanie Dougherty, chief of strategic planning, who are co-sponsors of California’s autonomous vehicle regulation project, and Brian Soublet, the department’s deputy director and chief counsel,” Harris reports. “Last month, the Guardian disclosed that Apple had looked into booking a secure car testing site in California to road-test its vehicle, codenamed Project Titan. Maletic wrote the mutual confidentiality agreement signed by GoMentum Station, a disused military base near San Francisco with miles of empty streets for driverless cars, when Apple inquired about testing there in May.”

“California’s DMV is developing regulations for the eventual deployment and public operation of autonomous vehicles. These rules will establish requirements that manufacturers must meet to certify that their driverless vehicles have been successfully tested, meet safety criteria, and are ready for consumers to operate on public roads,” Harris reports. “The DMV was meant to have drafted these rules by the start of 2015 but is running late.”

MacDailyNews Take: The DMV running late? How could that be? (dripping sarcasm)

“If Apple does seek a testing permit for its Project Titan self-driving car, it will have to sacrifice much of its legendary preference for secrecy. Manufacturers applying for a permit have to detail the make, model and vehicle identification number (VIN) of cars they want to test, share details of autonomous features and capabilities, and identify test drivers by name,” Harris reports. “An alternative to taking to public roads is testing vehicles at a private facility such as GoMentum Station, although Apple is not believed to have carried out any experiments there to date. A simpler option would be to buy its own property and test in complete secrecy without the need for any permits whatsoever – something the company may already have been doing for some time.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple wouldn’t do it through the DMV. Once they found out about he public dislosure requirements, they were likely off to visit GoMentum Station or, even better, buying up property for private testing.

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    1. It’s not about the testing location. It’s about the “test conditions” (the DMV’s rules and regulations used to define valid tests). 🙂 This Apple endeavor sounds serious… The DMV better get serious too.

    2. More like to invade several countries for testing. It’s probably seen as more patriotic and more consistent this the national history of Apple’s home country.

      Actually that will probably be the wave of the future, invasion by autonomous vehicles that move on their own while their human controllers will be kilometers away safe and sound. Oh forget it, that’s science fiction, it would never happen. You’d never be able to find such gutless cowards to operate such devices.

  1. I’m sure there is some “Latin-American Development and Management Corporation” testing some driverless vehicles somewhere in America. (look up the company if you don’t know what it means).

    1. Nice historical reference, Predrag. I grew up in Florida and clearly recall everyone’s surprise when Walt Disney World was announced. The technique of using separate companies to undertake decomposed tasks (land acquisition, patent or trademark filings, etc.) is one that Apple knows well and has practiced many times.

  2. The words Apple and DMV just don’t belong in the same sentence. Hell, they don’t belong in the same universe.

    While Apple is like a bright shinning star, DMV is a black hole that sucks everything near it in, never to be seen again.

    Let’s hope DMV’s involvement in this project is absolutely minimal.

  3. So eventually there’ll be no need for standing in interminable multi-ethnic lines or taking tests for Driver’s Licenses with some bored civil servant. And less income for the guv’mint charging for same with fewer licenses needed.

    I have to say though on a winding mountain road with precipitous drops on either side, well, that would be the ultimate test in how comfortable & confidant you might be with self-driving cars. For me, it’d be back on manual control baby!

      1. Reading comprehension helps. A reasonable person would read “interminable multi-ethnic lines” to mean that being multi-ethnic was part of what made the experience negative.

        In other words, “casual racism” is an accurate reading of what peterblood71 actually said.

  4. Hey, Apple. I have a perfect level lot very close to campus 2 that I can let you have for $2,000,000. Almost 3,000 square feet. I know the price seems cheap, but I need to sell fast.

  5. I see MDN’s point. We also still have no data proving that Apple themselves invented ANY car. All we can assume, if these rumors are true, is that some car is involved and Apple is applying some sort of self-driving technology to it.

    IOW: It’s still lots of rumors. But it’s fun to speculate.

  6. Apple may not know it all the way down the line, but it has been making its blind customers more independent for just about a decade now. It won’t stop now. One day, blindness will just be a physical aspect, not a powerful disability.

    Sent from my iPhone


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