Rumor: Apple is preparing to test autonomous vehicles near Phoenix

Apple is preparing to test autonomous vehicles at an old Fiat Chrysler testing ground in the Arizona desert near Phoenix, according to a Jalopnik report. Quoting an unnamed “source familiar with the matter,” the article says the tech giant is recruiting engineers and technicians to the site.

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Waymo and Uber are already running self-driving tests in the Phoenix region. As part of its autonomous/EV car strategy, Apple published a paper last week on how self-driving cars can better spot objects while using fewer sensors. It appears to be the company's first publicly disclosed paper on autonomous vehicles.

In June Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed to Bloomberg that the company is developing self-driving car technology, which he calls a “core” technology. The company’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. 

The Sellers Research Group (that’s me) says Apple’s automotive plans will involve software (such as CarPlay) and advanced hardware, but that the company has abandoned plans to product its own automobile.