Apple has slightly increased the number of test drivers for its self-driving car project, although the total number of vehicles remains the same.
According to new figures from the California Department of Motor Vehicles, Apple is currently testing 69 cars on public roads in California. That’s the same number it had in late April. However, Apple has increased its test drivers from 110 to 143 since then.
The figures show that Apple currently has the third-largest fleet of autonomous cars in California. It trails only GM Cruise (258 cars and 760 drivers) and Google’s Waymo (135 cars and 321 drivers). It’s ahead of Tesla’s 32 cars and 136 drivers.
Apple’s number of self-driving cars has risen and then fallen. It started out with a fleet of only three cars in April 2017. It then rose to 72, before slightly declining to its current 69. Having remained at 69 for around four months, this could suggest that this is the number it is settling at.
The self-driving car permit issued by California’s DMV means that safety drivers must be present at all times to be able to take control of the car. Increasing the number of test drivers could therefore suggest that Apple is carrying out more extensive training, with the cars on the road more often.
In February, Apple confirmed that 190 employees in Santa Clara and Sunnyvale have been released from its self-driving car project.