A little more than a year ago, Apple decided to completely shift the focus of its car research initiative. After reaching the conclusion that developing and manufacturing an Apple branded car from scratch was either too challenging or expensive — or perhaps both — the company decided to streamline its research and focus exclusively on self-driving car technologies. Since then, scores of Apple engineers who previously worked on Project Titan were either let go or shifted to other areas within the company.
This past June, Apple for the first time confirmed its interest in the automotive space when Tim Cook said that Apple is, in fact, working “on autonomous systems” for cars. Calling the company’s research into self-driving cars the “mother of all AI projects,” Cook added that while the work is incredibly difficult, it’s nonetheless an incredibly strategic area for Apple.
Since then, we haven’t heard much at all about Apple’s ongoing research into self-driving cars. Earlier today, however, a new report from Bloomberg revealed that Apple’s foray into the world of self-driving cars has only expanded over he past few months.
The report specifically notes that Apple has now registered 27 vehicles for autonomous testing as the company reportedly remains focused on keeping pace with the work being done by companies like Waymo and Tesla.
Since receiving a permit to test three autonomous cars in California last April, the iPhone maker has registered 24 more Lexus RX450h sport-utility vehicles, the California Department of Motor Vehicles said in an emailed response to questions.
Indeed, there have been scattered sightings of the aforementioned Apple-operated Lexus vehicles in recent months. For instance, the following video highlights one such vehicle outfitted with an astounding number of sensors.
Going to need more than 140 characters to go over 🍎's Project Titan. I call it "The Thing" pic.twitter.com/sLDJd7iYSa
— MacCallister Higgins (@macjshiggins) October 17, 2017