Apple gets permit to test self-driving cars

Apple's rumored self-driving auto technology may soon be a reality.

Apple is now among the thirty or so companies that have a permit to test self-driving cars in the State of California.

A statement from the DMV indicates that three cars, all of them 2015's Lexus RX450h models, have got permission under the current permit to take test runs in California.

Apple does not test a full self-driving vehicle.

The Apple computer giant has received approval to test autonomous cars in California on Friday, an additional sign of the iPhone manufacturer's ambitions in the automobile of the future.

Chinese tech giant Baidu, which is working on autonomous driving at its California research center, this week announced the acquisition of xPerception, a USA startup that provides visual perception software, along with services and devices for people who are visually impaired.

The permit does not necessarily mean Apple is building a auto.

Late past year, Apple submitted a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in which it said that it was "investing heavily in the study of machine learning and automation, and is excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation".

"The company is investing heavily in the study of machine learning and automation, and is excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation", the letter said, which was meant to comment on the agency's federal automated vehicle's policy.

With major Silicon Valley tech firms and USA carmakers jumping into the frenzy to bring the technology to the market, the possibility that Apple will join the fray has fascinated the valley. Apple has been working on Project Titan for several years, but has never formally acknowledged it. However, some others say that the company is not working on a auto. Again, the letter to NHTSA still hinted that Apple is still committed to the project.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles granted clearance for trials of the autonomous driving technology on public roads, according to a notice on the DMV's website on Friday.

Encountering self-driving cars in California is a daily occurrence for those living around Silicon Valley.

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