The Guardian is reporting that Apple legal representatives met with California’s department of motor vehicles to discuss regulations about self-driving cars. On record, the DMV told The Guardian that “the Apple meeting was to review DMV’s autonomous vehicle regulations”. This news follows reports that Apple is searching for a private road-testing site for its ‘Apple Car’ electric vehicle project.
More interestingly, The Guardian claims to have obtained documents that suggest the Apple Car is close to leaving the lab as the project deemed ‘Project Titan’ has now an official Engineering Program Manager. When a project gets an EPM, it typically means a product is entering the next stage of development and finishing testing stages.
If Apple wants to seek a testing permit for the self-driving car, it will have to disclose car details (make, model and feature specifications) which doesn’t exactly sound like Apple’s desired level of secrecy. It seems most likely that Apple will conduct testing on private land where no regulatory involvement is required at all. In fact, there is a chance that the company has already been doing exactly this in secret.
According to the report, the DMV regulations are being carefully crafted with help from traditional car manufacturers and self-driving car interests like Google. It is thought that the rules laid out by the DMV will eventually reflect national regulations.
9to5Mac reported on Apple’s electric car team earlier in the year. Apple also recently hired a Fiat Chrysler executive for the project and may have discussed partnership with BMW although it was suggested that Apple now wants to build a car on its own.