Apple continues to move quickly in the game of driverless vehicles, this time by meeting with California legislators chiefly responsible for self driving vehicle regulation. The rumor mill that Apple is building a car has gotten a lot of grist but things continue to look like by 2020, U.S. citizens could just be listening to their favorite playlist from their iPhones in a driverless Apple vehicle.
The Apple car, internally called “Project Titan”, is well underway and much closer to realization than most industry insiders originally thought.
The latest development saw Apple executives, including legal representative Mike Maletic, reportedly had hour-long meetings with the California Department of Motor vehicles.
The meeting between the two organizations occurred on Aug. 17th. Former California Secretary of State Bernard Soriano was in attendance, as were Brian Soublet and Stephanie Dougherty, head of enterprise planning regulation at California Department of Motor vehicles.
Analysts said negotiations were likely to have been focused on the 2012 California Senate Bill 129B granting the California Department of Motor Vehicles authority to develop regulations on the testing and operations of self driving vehicles. The bill separates operations from testing and Apple does not yet have a testing permit.
Negotiations for the permit in California can last up to one year and cost an estimated $5 million in insurance, self-insurance and bond. The regulations also require that test drivers should never have been charged with DUI or an accident that was their fault. They must also have not more than one point on their licenses.
Apple has recently appeared to have been pushing to release its first electric vehicle by 2020.
Automakers spend on average seven years before launching a car. Should Apple launch its car project, it will be in direct competition with established automakers such as General Motors and Tesla. Both companies are gearing for an electric car that can travel 200 miles and costs less than $30,000 by 2017.
Analysts have said Apple would have something of a head start going into the car industry after posting record profits of $18 billion last year and $178 billion in cash reserves – more than enough to fund project Titan. Then there’s also the Apple brand, which seems to be able to sell just about anything.