The rumours have been circulating for a long time, but now it’s official: Apple is building a self-driving car.
It’s not a unique move on Apple’s part, as Google has already begun testing self-driving cars on roadways, and Tesla is putting self-driving hardware into every car it now builds.
Ford also has plans to put their own autonomous automobiles into the world by 2021. But the news is that, now the doubters can be put to rest.
It all came about as Apple recently penned a letter to US transport regulators. The communication stated the company is "excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation", and that "significant societal benefits of automated vehicles" could be realized in the future.
Further evidence, though not foolproof but convincing enough for BBC.com to cite it, includes the fact that Apple has already registered car-related internet domains such as apple.car and apple.auto.
What about safety? Apple's letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, (NHTSA), is said to have expressed an interest in “defining best practices” in the self-driving car industry.
Whether this is purely out of interest in the safety of the consumer is debatable, but it’s interesting.
The BBC.com reports that Apple has proposed all companies in the autonomous car industry share data from crashes and “near misses” in order to build the best system possible and to “build a more comprehensive picture than one company could manage alone”.
Now, why can’t we get a major, global company to put the same pressure on the medical world for things like data sharing in cancer research? Apple, that’s the life-saving database we really need.
Anyways, Apple is asking for an approach that will collect all crash and near-miss data, while still protecting individual privacy.
The hope is that the NHTSA will collaborate with privacy experts outside of the automotive industry, to get the job done.
Hopefully it will be an easier process to go through than others. Some roads shouldn't be traveled twice: like trying to keep both the public and authorities happy while solving puzzles like hacking into Syed Farook’s iPhone .
Surely, things will be easier, though. It's highly likely that what goes on behind closed doors isn’t being published in a press release.