The recent dream for car companies is to be able to sell a car that can drive itself, which company will get there first?
Last week’s “exclusive” in the Guardian claiming to “confirm Apple is building self-driving car” raised quite a buzz. Much of that buzz was skeptical, with many pointing out that the facts failed to support the Guardian’s conclusion.
The logical leap that Guardian made was that an Apple engineer’s interest in the GoMentum Station vehicle test track confirmed Apple’s driverless car program. This is too big a leap, as a range of Apple car-related aspirations—self-driving or not—might have use for such a test track.
Let’s assume, however, that the Guardian is right and Apple does have a driverless car ready for testing. (This is possible, as Apple has hired many automotive engineers, including the former CEO of Mercedes Benz’s Silicon Valley research center.) What would that say about the relative state of Apple’s driverless car?
It would tell us that Apple is millions of miles behind Google, and falling further behind every day.
As one of the few companies in the world richer than Google, Apple can match the cars, sensors, processors, navigational systems and other pieces of hardware that Google might deploy. It can replicate the sophisticated maps that Google has compiled. It will have a very hard time, however, catching up with Google’s on-the-road learning.
Apple taking precautions to keep their progress secret as they test their autonomous vehicles.
Apple is looking into using a former military base northeast of San Francisco as a high-security proving ground for autonomous vehicles it is developing, according to an online report by British newspaper The Guardian.
Engineers from the technology giant’s Special Projects group have been in contact with representatives of GoMentum Station, a 2,100-acre facility on the site of what used to be the Concord Naval Weapons Station, in Concord, Calif.
Correspondence obtained by The Guardian through public records requests shows Apple is interested in using the sprawling sites, which has more than 20 miles of paved roads, city streets, railroad crossings and tunnels, to test self-driving vehicles.
Both Honda and Mercedes-Benz have been using GoMentum Station for testing their own autonomous cars.
News of Apple’s interest in the former base is the latest glimpse into Apple’s secretive autonomous-car program. The maker of iPhones and MacBooks had said little publicly about its vehicle-development efforts, but in recent months it has hired some well-known executives from automakers.
One of the most dangerous offences is taking your eyes off the road to send a quick text to friends. Do you text while driving?
Teenagers calling themselves safe motorists overwhelmingly admit to checking phones when behind the wheel, and those who text while driving say they are often distracted by parents who expect immediate responses, a survey found.
More than half of the teens confessed to texting while driving to update their parents, and 19 per cent said moms and dads expected a response within one minute, according to a study issued Tuesday by Boston-based Liberty Mutual Holding Co. and Students Against Destructive Decisions.
“We have a generation of parents that are used to being very connected with their children,” Stephen Wallace, chief executive officer of SADD, said in an interview. “They’re looking for that constant communication.”
Of the almost 3,000 fatal crashes in 2013 caused by distracted drivers, 10 per cent of those deaths were teens, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Auto insurers including Allstate Corp. and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. have publicized the risks of distracted motorists.
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