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Documents and DMV discussions indicate that Apple Car is close to leaving lab, Project Titan gets a manager


The Guardian is reporting that Apple legal representatives met with California’s department of motor vehicles to discuss regulations about self-driving cars. On record, the DMV told The Guardian that “the Apple meeting was to review DMV’s autonomous vehicle regulations”. This news follows reports that Apple is searching for a private road-testing site for its ‘Apple Car’ electric vehicle project.

More interestingly, The Guardian claims to have obtained documents that suggest the Apple Car is close to leaving the lab as the project deemed ‘Project Titan’ has now an official Engineering Program Manager. When a project gets an EPM, it typically means a product is entering the next stage of development and finishing testing stages.

If Apple wants to seek a testing permit for the self-driving car, it will have to disclose car details (make, model and feature specifications) which doesn’t exactly sound like Apple’s desired level of secrecy. It seems most likely that Apple will conduct testing on private land where no regulatory involvement is required at all. In fact, there is a chance that the company has already been doing exactly this in secret.

According to the report, the DMV regulations are being carefully crafted with help from traditional car manufacturers and self-driving car interests like Google. It is thought that the rules laid out by the DMV will eventually reflect national regulations.

9to5Mac reported on Apple’s electric car team earlier in the year. Apple also recently hired a Fiat Chrysler executive for the project and may have discussed partnership with BMW although it was suggested that Apple now wants to build a car on its own.

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  1. Douglas Michael Massing - 8 years ago

    “It is thought that the rules laid out by the DMV will eventually reflect national regulations.”

    “…be reflected in…”, perhaps?

  2. rgbfoundry - 8 years ago

    It wouldn’t surprise me if Apple’s new headquarters featured a circular test track, deep underground and away from prying Ives!

    • aaronh - 8 years ago

      That is kind of a genius idea. I hadn’t even considered that, but having just seen the campus in person it is SOOO huge and with gently curving shape you could have a track underground that allowed you to do crazy long term and long distance tests at really high speeds without using another track that’s visible from the air or getting approval for use on public roads.

      Feels a little like a ridiculous conspiracy theory, but the idea makes a TON of sense and even fits the timing. The only question is can you effectively “hide” that in the plans and make it seem like it’s for something else (like maintenance transportation or whatever).

  3. Paul Van Obberghen - 8 years ago

    In 2050, no human being will be allowed to drive a car. Same for airplanes.

  4. vkd108 - 8 years ago

    I’d like to see this thing cope with all the potholes, speed humps and irregular asphalt (to put it mildly) in Brazil. And my reference is Rio de Janeiro, which is supposedly more “advanced” in these matters than the majority of the country.

  5. My guess: Apple has either modified a BMW i3 or Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive (remember, both German companies have research labs no far from Apple corporate headquarters) to test Apple’s autonomous driving technologies and could show them off some time in 2017. Maybe possibly as early as the New York Auto Show in April 2016?


Avatar for Benjamin Mayo Benjamin Mayo

Benjamin develops iOS apps professionally and covers Apple news and rumors for 9to5Mac. Listen to Benjamin, every week, on the Happy Hour podcast. Check out his personal blog. Message Benjamin over email or Twitter.