Photos obtained by Bloomberg are giving us our first look at what appears to be a testbed for Apple's self-driving car technology. An observer caught the Lexus SUV (looking similar to the demo vehicle above) rolling out of an Apple facility in Silicon Valley, rocking an extensive kit including Velodyne LiDAR units and radar sensors, which help the car observe the world around it. Apple picked up a permit to test its autonomous technology on California streets a couple of weeks ago, and it apparently isn't waiting to get started.
According to an expert cited by Bloomberg, the kit observed appears to consist of "off the shelf" sensors from third parties like Velodyne, instead of custom hardware. It's unclear what form the scaled-back Project Titan plans could eventually take, but getting time on the road is a big first step.
Apple gets the OK to test autonomous cars in California
California will soon have yet another company's self-driving vehicles navigating its roadways. The Department of Motor Vehicles granted Apple an autonomous vehicle testing permit on Friday, enabling the company to use public roadways in its autonomous systems experiments.
Apple isn't the first company to employ California's transportation infrastructure as a giant R&D lab. Alphabet, Tesla and Uber (after some cajoling) have already applied for, and been granted, similar permits.
This news comes as California is warming to the idea of being a high-tech testbed. The DMV recently announced that it would be adjusting its rules to make it easier for companies to test their cars in the state. GM alsoannounced this week that it is dramatically expanding its self-driving vehicle operations in San Francisco and hire 1600 people by 2021.