It was at the end of January that we commented here on the fact that Apple’s autonomous car fleet, running tireless tests around California, had multiplied by nine over the past year. Now, confirming once again that Ma is betting a lot of chips on its system for vehicles that drive themselves, that number has almost doubled again in less than two months!
According to Financial Times, Apple now has licenses to test 45 autonomous cars on California streets, according to the local traffic department; at the end of january, that number was still at 27, that is, if we continue at that pace, soon the Lexus RX450h with special equipment from Ma will take over the state.
With its 45 cars, Apple’s autonomous fleet is the second largest in its home state, second only to Cruise Automation subsidiary of General Motors which has 110 self-driving vehicles running through California. For comparison only, the Tesla has 39 cars of the type being tested in the state, while the Waymo, from Google, is 24. good to remember, however, that some of these companies have also focused their tests on other locations instead of focusing only on California, as Apple has done.
This information, moreover, takes us to the crucial point of the moment when it comes to the subject of autonomous cars. As is well known, the first fatal accident involving a self-driving vehicle was recorded yesterday, when a Uber ran over a pedestrian at an intersection in Tempe, Arizona; with this, the future of the segment is under discussion with more strength than ever.
Uber has indefinitely suspended all its tests on autonomous cars and the National Traffic Safety Council (NTSB) opened an investigation into the accident; Preliminary information indicates that the car was at a speed slightly above the maximum allowed on the road (61km / h versus 55km / h) but, it seems, the accident was inevitable even if a person was driving the car and even if the car was within the speed limit.
Still, the unfortunate occurrence can create headaches for Apple, Tesla and the limited company. The discussion about the legality and safety of autonomous cars is one that has been going on for decades, long before technology was even created, and the accident may bring back some houses with regard to the acceptance of public and world governments about the idea of we get into a car without a driver.
As usual, we will have to wait to see the scenes from the next chapters. What do you think?