It finally happened. The first death of a pedestrian involving an autonomous vehicle is upon us and it has led to tech companies scaling back their work in the autonomous vehicle test.
After the fatal accident involving Uber’s autonomous self-driving car killed a woman in Arizona, the ride-hailing startup announced its decision to abandon self-driving vehicles test in the US and Canada. However, not all the major companies in this field are giving up on their test process. Apple, for instance, does not seem to be slowing down on its self-driving vehicles test.
The Cupertino-based company has more autonomous vehicles on the road than Tesla and Uber, reveals a new report from the Financial Times. The report based on figures provided by the Department of Motor Vehicles in California, Apple now has a permit to test a total of 45 autonomous self-driving vehicles on public roads. In comparison, Tesla has permits for 39 and while Uber has 29 permits in the state of California.
Apple’s number has grown from 27, a few months back and just three vehicles almost a year ago. The report suggests Apple is ramping up self-driving vehicle efforts faster than other companies fighting for supremacy in this space. The report also highlights how Apple is expanding on its efforts without making much noise out of the new technology.
In the past, a number of white SUVs with retro-fitted LIDAR equipments have been spotted testing by Apple since it received permission to test the technology publicly. The effort is believed to be part of Project Titan and Apple has switched gears from developing its own car to fitting its indegenious technology on vehicles made by other brands.
Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly admitted that the company is working on self-driving vehicle technology. He added that the autonomous vehicle project is ‘mother of all AI projects’ and termed it one of the largest even undertaken the iPhone maker. It is already clear that major names in this segment have reached a certain level of autonomy, but the bigger question is – how much can pedestrians trust a vehicle handled by a machine.