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Apple's self-driving car test fleet up to 45 vehicles navigating California roads

Apple is rapidly growing the number of self-driving test vehicles it has in its home state, putting it at second place there behind only General Motors' Cruise subsidiary.

While Apple grew from 3 to 27 between April 2017 and January 2018, since then numbers have shot up to 45, the Financial Times said on Tuesday, citing data from California's Department of Motor Vehicles. Cruise has 110 cars.

Behind Apple are Tesla with 39, and Uber with 29. Uber has temporarily suspended testing in the wake of an Arizona fatality.

Alphabet's Waymo — which is nominally planning to launch a commercial ridehailing service in Arizona later this year — has scaled back from 100 Californian vehicles in June 2017 to just 24, although its Arizona fleet has grown. It's not clear whether Waymo might postpone plans in the wake of Uber's accident.

Apple's long-term plans are still shrouded. Though the company has had no choice but to acknowledge self-driving tests, it hasn't said what if anything it wants to do with the technology.

The company is expected to produce a platform for ridehailing services, most likely in partnership with third parties. Alternately it could revert to designing its own electric vehicle, but the company would need to contract with outside factories to build it.