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Apple expands driver pool for self-driving car tests by 23

Apple has increased the number of drivers for its fleet of autonomous vehicles, with the headcount of testers for its self-driving vehicle systems now at 137 people.

Apple has been steadily increasing its group of drivers used to collect data and trial its self-driving car technology on roads in the United States. The company has continued the upward trend by adding more people to the roster.

In data from the California Department of Motor Vehicles seen by MacReports, Apple has increased the number of driver permits by 23, bringing the total number of its drivers up to 137. In September, the count was at 114, while in August and May, it was 92 drivers and 76 drivers respectively.

While the number of drivers has gone up, the number of vehicles being used for testing remains the same, at 69 cars. Meanwhile, companies including Mercedes Benz, Waymo, GM Cruise, Zoox, and Pony have all added more cars to their fleets.

The increase in driver numbers still puts Apple far behind other companies. For example, Cruise has 992 permits, Waymo has 1,628, and Zoox has 315.

The latest figures also reveal that Apple has still yet to apply for a driverless vehicle permit. Of the others, Cruise has increased its driverless fleet from 5 to 20 permits, with Waymo still in the lead with 34.

Data on collisions for autonomous vehicles show that Apple has added one more to its records, bringing it to a total of six collisions on file.

Apple is widely thought to be working on its own self-driving systems, possibly as a precursor to its own "Apple Car," under the internal name of "Project Titan." Various reports have covered restructuring of the effort, and even supposed discussions about car production, but it does seem that the project is continuing to grow within the company.

In October, Apple posted a job listing searching for a "Radar Test Engineer" for the Special Projects Group. On November 5, Apple hired a former Tesla engineer, seemingly to work on software for the vehicle.