Apple reveals work on self-driving cars

Apple for the first time has confirmed its interest in self-driving cars, something that has long been rumored. 

In a letter to regulators, the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant said it is “investing heavily” in the new technology, though it offered no further details.

{mosads}In his letter addressed to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) head Mark Rosekind, Apple director of product integrity Steve Kenner wrote that the company “is investing heavily in the study of machine learning and automation, and is excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation.” 

Though dated Nov. 22, it’s unclear when the letter, first reported on by The Wall Street Journal and other outlets, showed up on the NHTSA’s website.

“We’ve provided comments to NHTSA because Apple is investing heavily in machine learning and autonomous systems,” an Apple spokesman said in a statement to reporters. “There are many potential applications for these technologies, including the future of transportation, so we want to work with NHTSA to help define the best practices for the industry.”

Apple has been rumored to be at work on an autonomous car project, dubbed Project Titan, for several years, but the company has not publicly acknowledged it.

The tech behemoth commended many of NHSTA’s guidelines in their letter, but called for redactions of safety regulations in controlled tests.

Apple’s letter comes amid increased attention on from the White House and lawmakers on creating a regulatory framework for autonomous cars. Last month, Rosekind testified before House Energy and Commerce Committee members about proposed self-driving car regulations.
Kenner also suggested that Apple may have international ambitions with their project. In his letter, he urged that the NHTSA look abroad to collaborate on regulations with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, G7 and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

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