Apple’s self-driving car spotted in the wild

I spy an iCar, someone said this week.

Or, at least, that someone spotted a self-driving vehicle that Apple looks to be testing on California roads, and sent a photo to Bloomberg News.

The white Lexus was seen leaving an Apple facility in Silicon Valley this week, according to Bloomberg, which noted that the equipment on the vehicle appeared to include Velodyne Lidar’s top-of-the-range 64-channel lidar and a bunch of cameras.

The sighting comes a couple of weeks after Apple secured a permit to test self-driving technology in California, finally confirming the longtime rumor that the company is working on a self-driving car.

If you follow self-driving car news, you’ll notice that the vehicle is a Lexus RX450h, the same make and model Google’s Waymo uses to test its self-driving technology. When Apple got its permit, the DMV said it was for three such vehicles, and six drivers.

This is who Apple, which has yet to comment publicly about any of this, has down as the six drivers for the cars. (The names were inadvertently released by the DMV, Business Insider reported this week.)

  • Shilpa Gulati, a former NASA engineer
  • David Gadda, a former Tesla engineer
  • Paul Hebert, a former NASA engineer
  • David Rosas, who has a Ph.D. in control systems
  • Victor Hwang and Jeremy Ma, Apple engineers

Apple’s self-driving action comes after many reports about the company’s purported Project Titan project over the past couple of years. At one point, the company was reportedly working on building its own car but changed its mind.

Apple is now one of 30 companies that have permits to test self-driving tech in California, including Tesla, Google, Nvidia many longtime car companies and startups such as Faraday Future and Drive.ai.

 

Photo: An Apple building in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. During the speculation about whether Apple was working on a car, some residents complained of loud noises coming from the building at night. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

 

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  • cent99

    I see almost everyday an Apple test van looping in front of my home in Sunnyvale. This is going on for almost more than 2 months and it complets at least two rounds/day.

 
 
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