Apple’s fleet of self-driving cars experienced their first crash last week. It is believed to have been caused by a human driver and not because of technology that powers Apple’s self-driving vehicles.
A new DMV report filed in the state of California, obtained by The Verge, shows that one of Apple’s self-driving Lexus SUV car was rear-ended by a human-operated Nissan Leaf on August 24 in Sunnyvale. The report adds that no injuries were reported but both the vehicles were damaged during the crash. The incident occurred when Apple’s self-driving Lexus was merging onto the Lawrence Expressway and was moving at less than 1 mph.
According to the report, the Nissan Leaf was moving at 15 mph when it hit the self-driving car licensed to Apple. The speed of Apple’s self-driving car is described as being slow for merging onto a high-speed expressway but the report does not delve into these details. It is not clear whether the speed of Apple’s self-driving was acceptable but it is confirmed that the vehicle was “waiting for a safe gap to complete the merge” when it was hit by the Nissan Leaf.
The Cupertino, California-based iPhone maker began working on its self-driving car program in 2014. While it was initially rumored to build its own car, the company seems to have changed course to build only the software. The company started testing self-driving cars with its own technology only in late 2017. The California state report suggests Apple has more than 55 self-driving cars in the streets right now.
The incident involving Apple’s self-driving car might not be as fatal as the one involving Uber. Back in March, a self-driving Uber was involved in an accident that led to death of a pedestrian in Arizona. Since that incident, there have been a number of alarms being raised around the safety of self-driving vehicles.
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The self-driving car project is being tested by Alphabet’s Waymo, General Motors subsidiary Cruise, Tesla, Uber and Apple. Apple’s self-driving car project is not expected to formulate into a final product until at least 2023.