Tech: REVEALED: Apple documents offer first look at the tech giant’s self-driving car technology (AAPL)


The system is called "Apple Automated System" in the document.

Apple has developed an "Automated System" for self-driving cars and the company is planning to put staffers through a specialized training program to operate the vehicles ahead of their planned testing on California roads.

Apple documents obtained by Business Insider through a public records request provide the first look at the technology the company is building for self-driving cars.

Apple obtained permits to test self driving cars on California roads earlier this month. But the company has kept details of its car effort under wraps, and has never discussed in detail any of its technology or business plans for self-driving cars.

The documents obtained by Business Insider include a "Development Platform Specific Training," as well as details about a autonomous vehicle system called the "Apple Automated System." Among the key training issues are instructions on how to regain manual control of an autonomous car, if necessary.

According to the training packet, Apple's self-driving car uses a Logitech wheel and pedals to actuate drive by wire, and it supports one person at a time.

Apparently, during safety testing, the "Autonomous System" or development platform, is controlled electronically, for example, by a joystick (or, potentially by autonomous software.) Apple's drivers need to be ready to take manual control of the vehicle.

Apple declined to comment.

Seven tests

The documents shed light on Apple's effort to develop autonomous driving technology and represent the latest sign of the tech giant's seriousness about self-driving cars, a market that analysts believe could be worth tens of billions of dollars and will pit Apple against Google, Uber and Tesla, among others.

Apple is required under California law to train its drivers in how to override an automated system before they hit public roads.

According to the document, Apple drivers must pass seven different tests before they are fully trained. Each safety driver has two practice runs and three trials to pass each test on what appears to be a private course.

Here are the seven tests:

Pressing the brake pedal or grabbing the steering wheel in Apple's test vehicles will disengage the electronic driving mode, but drivers can accelerate without overriding the "drive by wire" mode.

Apple applied for a permit for six drivers to drive three Lexus RX450h SUVs. Apple's drivers, named in the application, are mostly Ph.Ds specializing in machine learning, some of whom previously worked for companies like Bosch and Tesla, according to LinkedIn.

Apple said its vehicles will be able to capture and store "relevant data before a collision occurs" in its application. Apple's point of contact in its application is Steve Kenner, who previously sent a letter to NHTSA.

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