In an effort to catch up with competitors like Waymo, Google’s former self-driving car division, Apple has expanded its California self-driving test fleet to 27 vehicles.
According to Bloomberg, the California Department of Motor Vehicles has revealed that Apple has registered 24 more Lexus RX450h sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) since receiving a permit to test three autonomous cars in California last year.
“The iPhone maker’s initial registration involved Lexus SUVs leased from Hertz Global Holdings Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook acknowledged for the first time in June that the company had a team developing autonomous car technology.
Apple declined to comment about the latest DMV registrations, which occurred from July 2017 through this month, according to the California agency.”
As the rise of electric vehicles brings down manufacturing and development costs, Silicon Valley-based companies are piling into the automotive industry. The the shift toward autonomous cars has bolstered demand for software expertise, while ride-hailing companies like Uber are displacing traditional taxis in major metropolises.
Apple however still has a long way to go before it catches up with the likes of Waymo, which is testing its autonomous technology in six US states already, including 600 minivans in Phoenix from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.