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Apple’s self-driving Lexus test vehicle spotted in Silicon Valley

Apple’s self-driving Lexus test vehicle spotted in Silicon Valley


Using off-the-shelf parts

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Apple earlier this month received a permit to start testing self-driving car technology in California, and now the first video of the iPhone maker’s test vehicle has been spotted. The car, a white Lexus RX450h crossover, was spotted by a driver somewhere in the Silicon Valley area, and the footage was then passed along to Bloomberg News. The car appears to be outfitted with standard third-party sensors and hardware, including a Velodyne-made LIDAR sensor, two radar units and a number of cameras, according to Bloomberg.

It’s unclear what type of data Apple is gathering here, given the secrecy of its Project Titan autonomous car unit. But we do know, from various reports and rumblings out of Cupertino, that Apple has ditched its ambitions to build an entirely new vehicle from scratch and has instead shifted focused to building autonomous software it could develop for existing car markers.

Alongside the testing permit granted earlier this month, Apple sent a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration last December saying 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.” So while we’re still thin on details regarding Apple’s ultimate plans, we can safely assume the company is well underway in the testing department.