( Reuters ) – An Apple self-driving car was merged this month on a highway near the company's Silicon Valley headquarters, the company said on Friday in an accident report with The iPhone maker is still in the race to build autonomous vehicles.
Apple executives have never talked publicly about the company's self-driving auto program, but filings in a criminal case confirmed that the company had at least 5,000 employees the project and that it worked on circuit boards and a "proprietary chip" for self-driving cars ,
Apple enters a crowded field where competitors like Alphasons Waymo unit and traditional automakers like General Cruise Automation, Even startups like the Zoox of Silicon Valley give billions of dollars in cars that can drive themselves.
On August 24, one of Apple's Lexus RX 450h self-propelled test ve Hicles fused south into the "autonomous mode" on the Lawrence Expressway in Sunnyvale, California at less than 1
The accident occurred around 3 pm as the Apple vehicle slowed and waited for a safe gap in traffic, to complete the merger, the report said.
Both vehicles suffered damage, but there were no injuries, the report said. According to a security plan submitted to California regulators, a human driver must be able to take control of Apple's self-driving test cars.
An Apple spokesman confirmed that the company had submitted the report but had not commented on it. He declined to respond to questions as to whether the subsequent car might be to blame.
Apple's efforts remained secret until years after its rivals, like Google, started testing on public roads. The iPhone's first public recognition for the field came in late 2016 in a letter to the US traffic regulators in which they urged not to restrict the testing of the vehicles.
Last year, Apple secured a license to test autonomous vehicles in California. Since last year, it has tested cars on the road and now has permits for more than 60 vehicles. Apple researchers released their first public research on cars last year, a software system that could help pedestrians identify more easily.
The safety of self-driving cars has become one of Uber's concerns in the US this year. In March, vehicles hit and killed a woman in Arizona, causing the company to cease its testing efforts for some time. Uber has said it plans to have self-driving cars back on the road by the end of the year.
The California DMV said it has received 95 autonomous vehicle crash reports on August 31. Dozens of companies have received permits to test self-driving vehicles on California's roads, but these permits require the presence of a human safety driver.