The intake is accompanied by 83 drivers who will be testing the vehicles. At this stage, Apple hasn’t been authorized to test self-driving cars independent of human supervision; for that, the company will need to submit a separate permit to the DMV — something Waymo did last month. The DMV also revealed that a second unnamed company had requested approval to begin driverless testing, but hasn’t parted with any additional details.
We do know that the autonomous car scene is heating up — Tesla and Drive.Ai are lagging behind Apple, but fellow California-native GM Cruise leads the pack with 104 vehicles with self-driving capacity. Still, one of the biggest issues inherent to automated technology is safety. The recent fatal accident involving one of Uber’s self-driving prototypes — apparently due to misaligned software — couldn’t be stopped by the test driver in time.
This indicates a margin of error that’s worth considering before rushing into fully self-driving trials; before the public can accept autonomous cars as a reliable alternative, companies need to gain its trust. There’s always a risk of mechanical failure, and human error can’t be ignored, either. but if companies identified problems and developed adequate prevention measures in advance, the number of accidents could experience a remarkable drop. That might push back release schedules, but autonomous safety should be top priority.
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