Apple has written a letter to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration telling that new companies entering the auto industry should be given the same rights as established companies. This letter hints that Apple has the rumored iCar in the works.
Apple’s Letter To NHTSA
Apple’s letter to the NHTSA indicates that the company still has plans of testing autonomous cars.
“Apple uses machine learning to make its products and services smarter, more intuitive, and more personal. The company is investing heavily in the study of machine learning and automation, and is excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation,” says the letter written by Steve Kenner, the director of product integrity at Apple.
It is worth noting that Kenner used to work as the global director of automotive safety at Ford. According to a MacRumors report, it remains unknown when Kenner joined Apple. However, Kenner’s LinkedIn profile still shows him as a Ford employee.
Kenner’s letter to the NHTSA also suggests that new entrants in the industry should be given the same opportunity as established car companies. Apple highlights that existing carmakers do not have to pursue exemptions to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards when trying to test cars on public roads because of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.
However, new players such as Google do not enjoy the same right per the FAST Act.
Can NHTSA Modify The FAST Act?
The NHTSA cannot make amendments to the FAST Act; however, it can update the Federal Automated Vehicles Policy to bypass any requirement for exemptions, which would help road testing of cars by new companies such as Apple.
Apple’s Interest In Developing Electric Cars Dubbed iCar
Apple is well known for making iPhones, iPads, iMacs and other tech-related products. Although the company is highly valued in the tech industry, it has minimal knowledge of making cars. Rumors of Apple developing a car have been surfacing for several months.
Apple’s car development team is said to be working under Project Titan, which is rumored to staff more than 1,000 engineers.
In October 2015, Elon Musk, the CEO of electric car company Tesla, also alleged that Apple was poaching Tesla engineers in the company’s ambition to develop an electric car. This suggests that Apple is keen on developing an iCar.
However, a previous Tech Times report noted that Apple’s interest in the car industry has reduced and the company is now focusing more on the software side than manufacturing autonomous vehicles.
Apple has remained secretive on the development of the iCar and only time will tell if and when the company officially confirms the Apple-branded car.
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