Self-Driving Cars: Next on Apple's List

BENGALURU: Apple is treading cautiously in the self driving cars arena and is buoyed by the potential of automated transportation. A letter from Mr. Steve Kenner, Director of Product Integrity, Apple to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the company’s most authentic declaration of intent to venture into self-driving vehicles technology till now. This has also put an end to speculations surrounding computer and iPhone maker’s plans for expanding into 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,” Mr. Kenner wrote, as reported by Today. Apple also urged regulators to create a level field for established and new entrants by asking them not to impose too many sanctions on the testing of self-driving cars.

According to some analysts, there would be huge job cuts, once these self-driving cars become a reality. Self-driving cars are likely to replace trucks, taxis and Uber drivers, thus leading to a complete overhaul of the transportation arena. It’s said that Apple’s letter was prompted by heavy investment by the company in automation arena and autonomous systems.

In September, the Obama administration came up with guidelines for the development of self-driving cars. Apple has not been very open about their interest in cars, but Tim Cook has emphasized the fact that Apple wanted to move on from just integrating Apple smartphones into vehicle infotainment systems. Other companies in this race for self-driving cars include Alphabet’s Google unit, General Motors, Ford Motor, Volkswagen, and Tesla Motors.

If reports are to be believed, Apple has held talks with British automaker McLaren Technology Group about investing, but McLaren downplayed any speculation of such kind.

According to Reuters, an auto trade group last month urged the Trump administration to take a long hard look at the existing regulations and conduct a review of all regulations and actions since Sept 1.

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