Apple has over 50 self-driving cars on California roads

The 2015 Lexus RX450h is Apple's vehicle of choice

The company is believed to have shifted focus to creating autonomous auto technology after its plan to build an entire vehicle suffered technical delays, employee departures, and poor focus. The company first received a permit to test autonomous vehicles in the state last April, starting with only three Lexus Rx450h SUVs.

Apple has increased the size of its self-driving test fleet to 55 vehicles in California, according to macReports.

Currently, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has provided permits to 53 companies for self-driving cars that include safety drivers, resulting in a total of 409 vehicles and 1,573 safety drivers in the US.

Apple has more self-driving cars in California than Tesla, Waymo, Uber, Toyota, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. Leading the pack is GM with 104 vehicles, while Waymo is in third place with 51 cars. Waymo, for instance, has hundreds of autonomous vehicles being tested in Arizona. That puts it four cars ahead of the latest figures we have for Waymo, Alphabet's self-driving auto division thought to be among the leaders in the sector.

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Uber left California in late 2016, taking its 16 vehicles with it, after the California DMV threatened to revoke its vehicle registrations.

What remains unclear is exactly what Apple's plans are for this new technology. Its self-driving program is still a mystery; however, it collects data for self-driving software.

"We sort of see it as the mother of all AI projects". Waymo applied to the California DMV for a permit to test without human supervision last month, though it's not clear whether it has been accepted.

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