The information we have about the Titan Project they are sparse and little revealing, but – by the very nature of the endeavor – Apple needs, from time to time, to give an account of the endeavor and reveal some of the details about testing its autonomous car system. That’s exactly what happened today, with the most recent safety report sent by Apple [PDF] to the US Department of Traffic Safety.
The point is that even when it needs to disclose information, Apple is obsessed with secrets: while the reports of other companies that test self-driving cars are around 35 pages, the Apple document is only 7, describing in general terms the guidelines and the main commitments of your tests.
Among the information released, Apple reveals that its vehicle sensors are able to precisely determine the geographical location of each car and detect elements around it, such as other cars, obstacles and pedestrians. Sounds like any other autonomous car project in the world? It is because it is.
It is interesting to note Apple’s mention of tests done “on internal circuits”. Until today, it was only known that Apple ran its cars on the streets of California, without information about a possible test track of the company. It is hard not to imagine, with this, the vehicles of the Apple competing for a kind of supermodern Formula Indy in the circular basements of the Apple Park – although that is just a daydream, really.
Regarding the humans involved in the tests, each car is monitored by a security driver and an operator; drivers attend daily meetings with Apple engineers to review software information and test routes. In addition, they need to keep both hands on the wheel at all times and work only one shift per day, with constant rest stops.
The cars, in turn, are inspected every day before each test, and the automatic commands to turn the steering wheel, accelerate and brake are displayed on monitors before being performed, so that the safety driver prevents the action if necessary.
After the controversy about disengagement, it is good to see a more concrete document coming from Apple. Still, it would be nice to read more about the project – who knows soon?
via The Verge