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Apple joins Tesla in letter begging California to change its self-driving car rules

Published Apr 28th, 2017 3:17PM EDT

Apple hasn’t publicly stated that it’s working on self-driving vehicle technology quite yet, but it’s giving the world plenty of reason to think it’s doing just that. Earlier this month, Apple scored a permit to test self-driving vehicles in California, and now the company is showing its hand once again by joining the likes of Tesla, Uber, Ford, and Alphabet-owned Waymo in formally requesting that the state rethink its rules and regulations regarding driverless car testing.

As Reuters reports, Apple’s letter addresses a number of what it sees as flaws in the state’s proposed autonomous vehicle testing policies. Writing to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, Apple’s Director of Product Integrity, Steve Kenner, asks the agency to change its proposed handling of “disengagement reporting,” which the company says can lead to misunderstandings and confusion among the general public when reading about instances where self-driving systems have handed control back to a human driver.

Apple’s stance is that only the most crucial disengagement reports should require reporting, and that instances where an autonomous system disengages without serious consequence or risk of a crash or traffic violation should simply be chalked up to the developmental nature of the technology. Apple still agrees that disengagements that could have resulted in a crash or traffic violation should be reported, even if the human driver successfully intervened.

“Apple appreciates the opportunity to comment on the proposed amendments to the testing and deployment language,” the letter concludes. “Apple looks forward to partnering with the California DMV and other stakeholders so that rapid technology development may be realized while ensuring the safety of the traveling public in the State of California.”