The self-driving Lexus designed by Apple has just been involved in a crash in California. The autonomous vehicle collided near San Francisco, after being rear-ended by a 2016 Nissan Leaf which marked the first confirmation that Apple is testing such (autonomous) vehicles on the roads in California.
The Accident Took Place on the Lawrence Expressway in Slow Speeds
As Engadget first reported, the collision between Apple’s Lexus and the Nissan Leaf occured when the test vehicle was waiting for a safe gap to merge into the high traffic Lawrence Expressway. The Lexus was driving at less than 1 mph while merging, and the Nissan Leaf was moving at around 15 mph, as the report says.
Meanwhile, a report by Axios issued in August showed that human error is to blame for 92% of all the traffic accidents involving autonomous vehicles in California in recent years. The latest collision with Apple in it confirms this evidence – and proves that while AVs may be the future of transportation, the human error is the biggest hurdle to overcome.
Will this Accident Force Apple to Reveal More About its Autonomous Vehicles Strategy?
What’s interesting is the fact that Apple has not revealed much about its automotive plans over the past couple of years. However, it is clear that the tech giant applied for and received a permit to test the driverless vehicles last year. Currently, there are no insights about the development plans or Apple’s progress in this field.
As Fortune reported a couple of months ago, Apple’s crumbling ambitions to build a futuristic car have resulted in little more than a partnership with Volkswagen – and may first show as autonomous shuttles in the Apple campus. However, Apple used to want to build its own cars, and there are big teams that believe in this idea.
According to sources close to The Times, the manufacturer won’t end up building and selling an autonomous car. However, for now, it seems that Apple’s ambitions are hidden below the surface and waiting to see if its technology is falling behind the one of its rivals.
No Injuries and No Comments
So far, Apple has not offered any comments on the incident. The good thing is that there were no injuries. The company has remained quiet about its ambitions in the automotive space – and only introduced CarPlay as the stereo system that links to the vehicle – applied in most of the newer car models.
However, the CEO of Apple Tim Cook last year said that the company was developing “autonomous systems” which many saw as a benchmark for all AI projects. The actual testing on the roads began in April 2017 with three Lexus SUVs, expanding to 27 vehicles in January 2018, then 45 in March 2018 and 55 in May, according to the DMV.