Apple has developed an “Automated System” for self-driving cars and the company has a special training program underway that teaches staffers testing vehicles how to regain manual control of an autonomous car.
Apple’s “Development Platform Specific Training” document, which was obtained by Business Insider through a public records request, sheds light on Apple’s effort to develop autonomous driving technology.
The documents represent the latest sign of the tech giant’s seriousness about self-driving cars, a market that analysts believe could be worth tens of billions of dollars that will pit Apple against Google, Uber and Tesla, among others.
Apple obtained permits to test self driving cars on California roads earlier this month.
Apple is required under California law to train its drivers in how to override an automated system before they hit public roads.
The system is called “Apple Automated System” in the document.
According to the document, Apple drivers must pass seven different tests before they are fully trained. Each safety driver has two practice runs and three trials to pass each test on what appears to be a private course.
Here are the seven tests:
Apparently, during safety testing, the “Autonomous System” or development platform, is controlled electronically, for example, by a joystick (or, potentially by autonomous software.) Apple’s drivers need to be ready to take manual control of the vehicle.
According to the training packet, Apple’s self-driving car uses a Logitech wheel and pedals to actuate drive by wire, and it supports one person at a time.
Pressing the brake pedal or grabbing the steering wheel in Apple’s test vehicles will disengage the electronic driving mode, but drivers can accelerate without overriding the “drive by wire” mode.
Apple applied for a permit for six drivers to drive three Lexus RX450h SUVs. Apple’s drivers, named in the application, are mostly Ph.Ds specializing in machine learning, some of whom previously worked for companies like Bosch and Tesla, according to LinkedIn.
Apple said its vehicles will be able to capture and store “relevant data before a collision occurs” in its application. Apple’s point of contact in its application is Steve Kenner, who previously sent a letter to NHTSA. Apple declined to comment.