This month Apple received a permit to test autonomous vehicles on California roads, which suggested the company was moving forward with its self-driving car plans after months of speculation as to whether the project had been shelved.
Now, training documents acquired by Business Insider reveal more details about the company’s self-driving car plans.
The documents themselves reportedly contain details of a “Development Platform Specific Training” for employees testing out the autonomous system
Also included in the documents are details about the autonomous-vehicle system itself, which is apparently referred to as the “Apple Automated System.”
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Accoridng to the report, an Apple official wrote on one of the government forms: “The development platform uses hardware and software to monitor surrounding objects and events.”
The official added that the technology is “capable of sending electronic commands for steering, accelerating, and decelerating and may carry out portions of the dynamic driving task.”
The training documents also appear to reveal that Apple is using consumer video game gear, including such items as a Logitech steering wheel and pedals to “actuate drive by wire”.
They also reveal that Apple staffers must be fully trained in how to override the automated system and take manual control of the vehicle.
The staff must pass seven tests, according to the documents, with each driver having two practice runs and three trials to pass each test.
Apple will apparently be using six drivers, most of whom are reportedly Ph.D.s specializing in machine learning, to test out three Lexus RX450h SUVs
Whether Apple plans to build its own self-driving car remains unclear, with some expecting the company to simply work on developing autonomous technology for use in cars from third-party companies.
However, in November last year, Apple’s director of product integrity told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in a letter: “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.”
Just what Apple has planned with regards to its own autonomous car remains unclear, but it’s good get some insight into the company’s latest self-driving developments.
Let us know what you think of the report in the comments.