Apple again meets with California DMV to talk autonomous vehicles

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lexus
The 2015 Lexus RX450h is Apple's self-driving vehicle of choice.
Photo: Lexus

Apple had another meeting with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) about autonomous vehicles last month. The April 2 meeting came not at the request of Apple, but instead the DMV.

Six DMV officials were present at the two-hour meeting. These included deputy director Bernard Soriana, director Jean Shiomoto, chief deputy director William Davidson, deputy director and chief counsel Brian Soublet, attorney Emily Bisnett, and executive fellow Alexandra Lake.

It’s not clear who attended the meeting on Apple’s part, but the meeting was arranged through Apple head of product integrity Steve Kenner. It was held at Apple’s 1 Infinite Loop headquarters, as opposed to the new Apple Park HQ, which makes the whole thing more secret than holding it in a public space.

The meeting was titled simply “Meeting with Apple.” It was held early in April, and afterwards Bernard Soriano emailed Steve Kenner to thank him for arranging it, and to query one of the points that was discussed:

“Just following up on an issue that was brought up regarding turnaround times for drivers enrolled in the EPN program. We checked with the Deputy Director over that program. Sonia Huestis (cc’d), and it looks like there isn’t a backlog. Do you have some specifics on the issues that were brought up? Sonia and her staff can track that down and see what and why there are bottlenecks.”

Apple’s self-driving plans

Last summer, Apple was granted permission to start driving its self-driving Lexus RX450h vehicles. Since then, the fleet has rapidly expanded. In March, Apple had 45 permits to test autonomous vehicles on public roads in California.

While Apple has yet to make a public announcement about the Apple Car, it is rumored to have a team of hundreds of engineers working on self-driving car technology. Initially, it supposedly planned to build a car from the ground up. However, those goals have now supposedly changed to building only the underlying navigation system for a self-driving car.

Late last year, an image on Google Earth showcased a former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles facility in Arizona that Apple might be using to test autonomous vehicles. The satellite image depicts a “proving ground” with urban street configurations, such as crosswalks and intersections, which would be necessary for putting a self-driving vehicle through its paces.

Source: Macreports