Apple expands self-driving car fleet, reduces number of test drivers

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Apple has reportedly increased the number of self-driving cars it is testing on California roads, but has halved the number of drivers licensed to operate them.

According to data from the California Department of Motor Vehicles, Apple currently has 68 self-driving test vehicles on the road. This marks the first increase in Apple's fleet since August 2019.

An Apple report with the DMV from February indicated that the company's autonomous vehicle technology as a whole seemingly improved. That report indicated that Apple's fleet doubled its road testing miles in 2020. It also had fewer situations where a human driver had to take over than the year prior.

The new data, first seen by MacReports also indicates that the number of Apple autonomous test drivers has decreased to 76. In October 2020, Apple had 154 licensed drivers, meaning that the number has been slashed by nearly half.

Apple is widely rumored to be developing its own self-driving car technology for use in a future autonomous vehicle project. The most recent reports indicate that the Cupertino tech giant is working to release a full-fledged "Apple Car" by the end of the decade.

Back in January, Apple was said to be in talks with Hyundai and Kia about manufacturing the "Apple Car." Those negotiations fell through, but Apple is reportedly eyeing other companies as potential partners.

The Cupertino tech giant reportedly has hundreds of engineers working on vehicular technology under the codename Project Titan. A smaller subset of that group is specifically working on a production vehicle, reports have suggested. Although the signs point toward an actual "Apple Car" hitting the market, there's also a chance that Apple could scrap that plan and release its self-driving technology as a package for other automakers.

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