Let the Apple Car talk begin again. The tech giant has expanded its California self-driving test fleet to 27 cars.
Since receiving a permit to test three autonomous cars in California last April, the Cupertino-based company has registered 24 more Lexus RX450h sport-utility vehicles, the California Department of Motor Vehicles said in an emailed response to questions from Bloomberg. In June CEO Tim Cook confirmed that the company is developing self-driving car technology, which he calls a “core” technology. The comments marked the first time Cook has discussed the long-rumored “Apple Car” project publicly, though he was vague about any manufacturing plans.
Apple’s self-driving car prospects have involved Project Titan, the car development program that started three years ago. However, Apple changed course last year to focus on the tech. In April, photos revealed Apple testing self-driving sports-utility vehicles in California. Sources claim similar testing has happened for over a year.
Apple may indeed start making its own vehicles. However, that’s an awfully big and expensive undertaking, even for the world’s most influential, successful company. It could easily consume the company’s resources and overwhelm work done on the Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, etc.
What if, instead, Apple stung off a design business to help auto companies. Or what if Apple invested in a company such as Zaptera — which has a three-wheel, two-passenger prototype that aims for 300 miles per gallon — to truly shake up the auto industry?