Apple Officially Enters Self-Driving Car Race

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Michael Shedlock via,

The race for self-driving car technology heats up.

Apple officially tossed its hat into the ring with a letter from Steve Kenner, Apple’s director of product integrity, to the US National Highway Safety Administration.

Rumors of a secret autonomous vehicle lab surfaced earlier this year but Apple denied them. Apple can no longer hide its intent.


Please consider Apple Reveals Plans for Self-Driving Car.

Apple has for the first time publicly acknowledged its plans to develop self-driving cars, with a letter that urges the US highways regulator to promote “fair competition” between newcomers to the automotive industry and traditional manufacturers.


In an unusually direct statement accompanying the letter, an Apple spokesman confirmed its work on autonomous systems that could be used to transform “the future of transportation”. Apple’s letter touts the “significant societal benefits of automated vehicles”, which it described as a life-saving technology, potentially preventing millions of car crashes and thousands of fatalities each year.


The disclosure highlights how Apple may struggle to maintain its notorious secrecy in new product development as it enters more highly regulated markets, from transportation to healthcare.


Hundreds of Apple staff have been working on an electric car for more than two years, people familiar with the project say. The Financial Times first reported the secret research lab, which is based outside its Cupertino headquarters in neighbouring Sunnyvale, in February last year.


Since then, despite leaks about the project’s sometimes difficult progress, Apple executives have refused to admit that the automotive initiative exists.


That position will be harder to maintain after the publication of a letter from Apple to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as part of the regulator’s regular dialogue with manufacturers about its rules for the fast-developing technology. The letter was signed by Steve Kenner, Apple’s director of product integrity, and was submitted on November 22.


An Apple spokesman confirmed the letter, giving the clearest statement yet of the company’s intentions.


In one of the five-page letter’s more controversial passages, Apple says that manufacturers should pool their data as they develop automated systems, to help everyone identify the multitude of unusual situations or “edge cases” that cars might encounter on the roads.


“Companies should share de-identified scenario and dynamics data from crashes and near-misses,” Apple writes. “By sharing data, the industry will build a more comprehensive data set than any one company could create alone.”


“Because automated vehicles promise such a broad and deep human impact, companies should consider the ethical dimensions of them in comparably broad and deep terms,” Apple writes. These considerations include privacy, how the cars’ software systems make decisions and the impact on employment and public spaces, it says.


Experts are divided on whether driverless cars could cause huge congestion or clear the roads, and on the extent to which they might free up space in cities that was previously used for parking lots and garages to build new housing or parks. Automation of jobs such as taxi and truck drivers might increase unemployment among low-skilled workers, some analysts have warned.

Another Competitor

As I have been saying for years, self-driving cars and trucks will eliminate millions of jobs no later than a 2022-2024 timeframe.

My number one reason was competition. Add Apple to the list of competitors.

That said, reading between the lines, Apple may be far behind. If Apple was ahead, it just might not be promoting data sharing.

Regardless, Apple has significant resources and wants a piece of the pie. Competition is officially up.

How Many Jobs Lost?

My statement that “millions of long haul truck driving jobs will vanish in the 2022-2024 time frame” is likely way off on the low side if one counts Uber, taxi, and chauffeur driven vehicles.

Take a look at Uber’s goal once again: “replace Uber’s more than 1?million human drivers with robot drivers—as quickly as possible.”

That’s just Uber. And those jobs will vanish. All of them. What about Lyft? Taxis?

Related Articles

For further discussion, including a rebuttal to the often stated claim that driverless vehicles cannot work in snow, please see Uber Offers Driverless Rides This Month! What About Snow, Rain, Pigeons, 80-Year-Olds on Roller Skates?

My long-stated timeframe for millions of long-haul trucking jobs to vanish by the 2022-2024 is likely too distant.

The components are all in place. Regulation has five years to catch up, and it will. Competition ensures success and DOT is already on board.

Amusingly, some accused me of being “religious” when it comes to self-driving vehicles. This is not religion, this is science, and it will happen far sooner than deniers think, and quite possibly sooner than I think.

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Squid Viscous's picture

when is the self driving gerbil race, right into Tim Cook's puckered anus ?

LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD's picture
LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD (not verified) Squid Viscous Dec 4, 2016 6:34 PM

Will their self driving car be able to avoid me when I head straight toward it, pedal to the floor?

Arnold's picture

Will it have batterys that are unserviceable and can't be changed out?

Mail the equipment back for a reconditioned replacement?

Last of the Middle Class's picture

unservicable AND immediately explode into flames that can't be put out in the event of a collision. Enjoy!

The Saint's picture

I thought Apple recently said they were getting out of the automous car hardware business and concentraing on the software to sell to the hardware makers?  I guess they are trying to yank someone's chain.


peddling-fiction's picture

Will they charge 4x for their marketing, cough, car?

Arnold's picture

You know that Gay Pride.

Company failure is not an option,

And I will spend every last cent we have to ensure this.

peddling-fiction's picture

Sounds like a cult. Will they kill for their dear leader?

Normalcy Bias's picture

The car market isn't already full of overpriced, overrated, pretentious vehicles?

xythras's picture
xythras (not verified) Normalcy Bias Dec 4, 2016 8:04 PM

Will be a lot of fun to direct homemade EMPs to those shoping carts

Twee Surgeon's picture

The whole thing is a scam,there is no demand for self driving cars except among people who feel they deserve a chauffeur.

We had self driving cars decades ago, we called them Taxi's, the guy behind the wheel had a 'Job' and usually no desire to die in a fiery inferno of twisted metal.

It worked out quite well for many years. Buses were pretty cool in some places but will never be hip enough for the Carbon Taxers to ride on. We had Buses with a double deck, you could go upstairs and eat fish and chips, a tin of cider and a few cig's on your way home, 5 year old boys would gracefully jump off the back deck while the Bus was slowing down, a right of passage then that would get the parents an official warning now. If people really wanted self driving cars they would have put wires under the road (or over it.) Years ago, a private lane, Electric powered motorcycles for every immigrant. Who wants to go to the mountains, 9000 feet up for a little skiing, in a self driving car that will guess the black ice, snow depth and Fog, I wont be that Lab Rat.

What people want is George Jetson's car, we can't do anti-gravity yet but they could 'Biggify my Drone', at least they would look like they were paying attention.

Monorails are pretty cool, they could move freight around the country rapido, but that's not complicated enough for them. At least it would downsize the need to employ truck drivers before the population gets a good reducing, Georgia Guide-stone style.

I want a Chauffeur, my old lady wants a Pony, it's funny how that shit ain't happening.

HRH Feant's picture
HRH Feant (not verified) Twee Surgeon Dec 5, 2016 4:44 AM

Everything you said. I want a horse.

I don't get these kids that don't know how to drive and don't own a car. How long can you expect mommy to drive you around? Is 40 too old? Starting to wonder about some family members. Codependent BS goes on and on and on.

As far as antigravity vehicles, yes, that is what we want. Hip, slick, and cool. Driving around in a giant version of a PC mouse is def not cool.

land_of_the_few's picture

That was my understanding too, engineers fired, something about trying to combine charging/fuelling socket functions... unless that was satire!


BabaLooey's picture

Ladies and Gentlemen...


The 2018 iCrapple Line of Self-Driving ...............things.

The Apple "Core" - a 2 seater with no seeds.

The Apple "Jobs" - no kids allowed - ever.

The "Cuck" from Apple - women only. Men who enter get their weenuses clipped.

The CRAPPLE E00050 - a working truck to take paperless companies non office work no where.

flaminratzazz's picture

It will wrap you around a telephone pole when this fvker jumps out

bloostar's picture

Agreed.. who would get the blame? Me, being in full control of said vehicle or the auto bot riding twat thinking he's safe letting a computer drive the car while he reads his newspaper and checks his iMessages?

bloostar's picture

Agreed.. who would get the blame? Me, being in full control of said vehicle or the auto bot riding twat thinking he's safe letting a computer drive the car while he reads his newspaper and checks his iMessages?

DaNuts's picture

I will be shooting down drones and crashing into driverless cars.

Nothing good can come out of these inventions because they will just make humans redundant.

bamawatson's picture

you mean the self driving apple-comet
with special child seats

Arnold's picture

Will it have a disposible pizza app in the marketing package?

IronForge's picture

Did someone say, Gerbil?

Funny no one's calling the SPCA...


kliguy38's picture

Apple officialy enters self immolation 

c2nnib2l's picture

Great news... for me .. no more driving and drinking 


now I just drink... and self drive 

Ballin D's picture

no kidding.  jerk off on my way to work. start a solo happy hour on my way home.


wont be long until you can send your car on errands.  pick out groceries online and send the car over for pick up.

Last of the Middle Class's picture

won't need to if you get the i-pussy option.

Don Pancho's picture

Um, what about people who enjoy driving?  Can we keep our cars if we like our cars? What ever happened to flying cars?

bamawatson's picture

sure; simply remit the keep your car tax surcharge

LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD's picture
LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD (not verified) bamawatson Dec 4, 2016 6:43 PM

And attach the Central Planning supplied tracking/safe driving enforcement device.

boattrash's picture

Calling All Hackers!!!

Have fun turning this race into a "Smash-Up-Derby"!

peddling-fiction's picture

...or kill enemies of the state. Ooops, I am sorry.

MaxThrust's picture

Yes, you can keep driving your car if you like driving your car but the Insurance companies dying from lack of funds due to safer diverless cars will want a piece of you hide, that's for sure. And if for some reason they don't hike your premiums .gov will interveen and make it mandatory you pay extra because you will considered an accident risk

BarkingCat's picture

So an electric moped enclosed in clear plastic bubble for about $150k is what we can expect?

Arnold's picture

And the goons will want to upgrade every chance they get.

Bunga Bunga's picture

If you forget the PIN it self-destroys after 3 failed attempts. Apple makes sure that it is secure.

HRH Feant's picture
HRH Feant (not verified) BarkingCat Dec 5, 2016 4:46 AM

Yes. It looks like a giant PC mouse. Made in the latest LexiClearGlas.

BarkingCat's picture

So an electric moped enclosed in clear plastic bubble for about $150k is what we can expect?

flaminratzazz's picture

Yes officer, the last thing i remember I was watching 50 shades of grey.

TuPhat's picture

Ain't gonna happen Shedlock.

Neochrome's picture

Having my leg in the cast/boot for two months now plus the fact that my wife can't drive seriously limits our choices for residency, I do see appeal of it. 

shimmy's picture

If self driving cars will clear up heavy highway traffic then I am all for them. I am sick and tired of driving every fucking day and seeing the same stupid congestion in the same spots and knowing that probably 80-90% of the cars there are being driven by regulars so they should KNOW BETTER. Most of this shit is caused by people not leaving enough space and then people being in the wrong lanes and having to move over to get off and there not being the spce so they have to cut in and cause the chain reaction of braking. Same with people not leaving enough space when getting to on ramps and not letting people smoothly merge. It blows my mind how people don't understand that not leaving space does not benefit them. 

So yes, if human beings can't figure out how to do a simple thing like drive without causing easily avoidable issues then bring on the self driving cars. 

Shockwave's picture

Not here, here in washington its caused by the guy driving 15mph infer the speed limit and slamming on his brakes everytime someone changes lanes.


And the guys blasting all the way up to the exit/construction/end of lane and then cramming over at the last minute.

Here, if you leave a car length of more of space, person after person will fly up, cut you off, and slam on the brakes.

Our issues is with people being too terrifed of everything and people refusing to drive the speed limit.


Oh, also, this is the land of the entitled left lane moron, who drives slow in the passing lane, and refuses to move over out of faster traffics way  and then drives aggro and douchey when people try to pass the fucker going under the speed limit.


Srsly, tons of people goinf 15 under in the passing lanes, who then flip you off, brake check (when not even being tailgated), try to cut you off/not let you pass for jist wantimg to do the speed limit.


These entitled fucks will slam on the brakes, floor it when you try to pass, and even try ti switch lanes to block you, then act lile victims when they cause road rage.

Ive seen more guys rage and flip out over people blocking the passing lanes than anything, and when the traffic starts to pass the impeder, hes flipping off everyone and talking shit like everyone else is the peoblem.

Fucking Washing State liberals.

HRH Feant's picture
HRH Feant (not verified) Shockwave Dec 5, 2016 4:48 AM

So move to another state if you hate it so much.

Shockwave's picture

I totally would if it was feasible. I hate Washington state (I grew up here). Id much rather be back in Texas.

Unfortunately, this is where my family lives, and we want to raise our kids around family, and I have a great job that pays me way more than it should. My wife and I have already decided were going to move back to Texas when my grandparents pass.

Shlomo Schwartzman's picture
Shlomo Schwartzman (not verified) Dec 4, 2016 6:50 PM

How bout a self-destructing hipster? 

the iCuck

Last of the Middle Class's picture

Will cost $25,000 to manufacture, as an apple product will have a 1000% mark up and sell for 2.5 million obtain government funding through subprime lending for 100 years and your progeny will be legally responsible for the debt. After the car turns to dust they will get a nice plaque with a photo of great great great grand dad's first electric car they are paying for.

websitefound's picture

I've seen the designs already, and you're all not going to be headphone jack!

peddling-fiction's picture

Batteries are sealed for your own "protection".

kappa-slappa's picture

Apple should team up with Dyson and create a drone-mobile.