During the testing phase of a self-driving car, a driver is there behind the steering wheel to manually control the car in case of technology glitch. Now, to ensure the safety of those engineers, Apple has developed a testing procedure that would act as failsafe controls during autonomous vehicle testing.
This was discovered by Business Insider through public record request. The documents shed light on Apple’s effort to develop autonomous driving technology, and the testing procedure that Apple has created in order to comply with the California Department of Motor Vehicle’s (DMVs) rules regarding autonomous vehicle testing on state roads.
Earlier this month, California DMV gave permission to the Cupertino giant to test its autonomous vehicles on the roads of California. This is quite important as the tests are used for data collection for machine learning and to also monitor how their technology behaves in real world situations.
Now, to test its self-driving technology, Apple is required to train its drivers in how to override an automated system before they hit public roads. The failsafe technology used for these tests is called “Apple Automated System” in the document.
According to the documents, Apple drivers are required to pass seven different tests. Each safety driver has two practice runs and three trials to pass each test. They need to be ready to take manual control of the vehicle.
Apple has applied for a permit for six drivers to drive three Lexus RX450h SUVs. Apple’s drivers who are named in the application, are mostly Ph.Ds specializing in machine learning. Few of them have also previously worked for companies like Bosch and Tesla.
The documents, however, don’t shed much in the way of new light on Apple’s plans for autonomous driving. It does not reveal any information about Apple’s ambitions or strategy in this market.
However, this suggests that the tech giant is serious about self-driving cars, which is a market estimated to be worth tens of billions of dollars, and the Cupertino giant will compete against Google, Uber and Tesla, among others.