World Incidents

iCrash: Apple’s secret self-driving car plan revealed after collision involving test car

An Apple self-driving car has been involved in a collision – the first for the iPhone maker. The accident proves that the group, whose efforts in this sphere had been shrouded in secrecy, is in the race to make autonomous cars.

The crash took place near the city of Sunnyvale, California, not far from the company’s headquarters, on August 24, according to a report filed by Apple’s Program Director Steve Kenner to the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

The test vehicle, a Lexus RX450h, was in autonomous mode when it “was rear-ended while preparing to merge onto Lawrence Expressway South from Kifer Road,” the document stated.

The Apple car was traveling at less than 1.6kph, “waiting for a safe gap” in traffic to complete the merge, when a 2016 Nissan Leaf collided with it at approximately 24kph. Both vehicles sustained damage, but no injuries were reported. Apple stated that the car was “moderately”damaged in the accident.

The iPhone manufacturer has never publicly confirmed that it was developing self-driving cars. However, Apple has reportedly been testing such vehicles and has held permits for around 60 autonomous cars since 2017. On the DMV website, Apple Inc. is included on a list of companies or individuals who hold autonomous vehicle testing permits.

According to the data from the DMV, as of August 31, 2018, the agency has received 95 autonomous vehicle collision reports. A number of companies, including General Motors Cruise Automation and Alphabet Inc’s Waymo, have permits to use self-driving cars on the roads in California, but these permits require the presence of a human driver.
Self-driving cars have been the subject of recent concern after a fatal crash in Arizona in March this year. In that incident, a woman died after being hit by an autonomous car operated by Uber. The company even suspended the car tests. In July, Uber announced that all its vehicles would be driven manually by humans, and in accordance with new safety standards.

In May, the American Automobile Association (AAA) found that 73 percent of drivers surveyed said they would be “too afraid”to ride in a completely autonomous car. In late 2017, only 63 percent said the same. The study claimed to show that the biggest increase in fear was among millennials, which is bound to worry tech firms that are investing billions in the technology.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.