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Apple's (AAPL) Self-Driving Test Vehicle Suffers First Crash

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Apple (AAPL - Free Report) recently announced the first accident of its autonomous test vehicle that took place on Aug 24, in Santa Clara, Cupertino near Apple’s headquarters.

A Lexus RX450h, which was being used as a test vehicle was moving at 1 mile per hour (mph) when it collided with a 2016 Nissan Leaf, which was moving at 15 mph. The test vehicle was “rear-ended while preparing to merge onto Lawrence Expressway South from Kifer Road.” However, no injuries were reported by any of the parties.

Moreover, the initial submissions stated that Apple was not at fault for the accident. This might work in favor of the company’s ongoing efforts related to driver-less vehicles.

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Apple's Initiatives in Autonomous Driving Domain

Notably, news about Apple’s autonomous vehicle related initiative named “Project Titan” had been doing the rounds since 2014–2015. The company received permission to test autonomous vehicles on California public roads in 2017 and currently has around 66 test vehicles on the streets.

Last November, Apple released a research report that briefly talked about a technology that in spite of using fewer sensors will enable self-driving cars to better detect cyclists and pedestrians.

Apple has signed a deal with Volkswagen, per which the latter’s T6 Transporter vans will be turned into autonomous shuttles for its own employees.

In early August, the company hired Doug Field for Project Titan. Notably, Field worked at Tesla (TSLA - Free Report) as the senior vice president of engineering. We note that Doug had been the vice president of Mac hardware engineering at Apple before he joined Tesla in 2013.

In June, Apple appointed Jaime Waydo, a senior engineer from Alphabet’s (GOOGL - Free Report) self-driving project, Waymo. The addition of these two big names is expected to speed up the company’s efforts to launch its self-driving car.

In a recent article, MacRumors quoted long-time Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo who stated that the company is on track to launch Apple Car between 2023 and 2025. This is expected to aid this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company in reaching $2 trillion in market valuation.

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