Just weeks after receiving official approval, an Apple self-driving car has been seen making its way through the streets of Silicon Valley.
The Lexus fitted with various sensors is the latest entrant in the quest to make driverless cars commercially viable. Apple, a late comer, likely will face fierce competition from Google’s Waymo, which has carried out millions of miles of road testing, and Uber, which has been testing autonomous cars for months.
Apple’s initiative, officially called Project Titan, is driven by hardware developed by Velodyne Lidar, while Apple is expected to develop the software.
Based on documents obtained by Business Insider, Apple’s cars sound very much like other self-driving cars. The cars are “capable of sending electronic commands for steering, accelerating, and decelerating and may carry out portions of the dynamic driving task,” according to the documents.
As with other driverless cars, humans are still present and can override the self-driving mode at any time.
Despite being somewhat late to the game, Apple may find an opening in the way of a potentially lengthy legal battle between Waymo and Uber, with Waymo alleging that Uber stole its trade secrets.
On Thursday, Uber executive Anthony Levandowski recused himself from work on driverless cars in the wake of the lawsuit, which alleges he stole intellectual property while employed at Google.