Apple increases its number of self-driving car test drivers

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Project Titan
Apple has the third-largest self-driving car fleet in California.
Photo: Idiggapple/Twitter

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.

Apple’s working on something BIG… this week on The CultCast

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CultCast 399
Apple's recent earnings report was full of delicious surprises.
Photo: Apple

This week on The CultCast: Apple’s working on something BIG, and their massive increase in R&D spending proves it. Plus: we discuss all the surprises Apple unveiled in their recent earnings report, and it was another record breaker. And if you think your conversations with Siri are private, think again! Apple’s been caught reviewing your most personal sound bytes. And a new Moviepass competitor has emerged with a very interesting offer, but is it worth the price? All that and more!

Our thanks to Squarespace for supporting this episode. Easily create a beautiful website all by yourself, at Squarespace.com/cultcast. Use offer code CultCast at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain..

16-inch MacBook Pro details emerge, and the Apple Car lives, this week on The CultCast

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CultCast 398
The all-new 16-inch MacBook Pro could be right around the corner...
Photo: Apple

This week on The CultCast: A new report gives us a price tag and release date for the upcoming 16-inch MacBook Pro. Then: A new hire signals that the Apple Car is far from dead; and there’s finally a way to get podcasts recommendations tailored just for you. Plus, stayed tuned for our favorite shows and Comic-Con trailer in an all-new What We’re Into!

Our thanks to Squarespace for supporting this episode. Easily create a beautiful website all by yourself, at Squarespace.com/cultcast. Use offer code CultCast at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.

Apple designed its very own car suspension system

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Apple car
Coming to a road near you. Eventually?
Image: Aristomenis Tsirbas/Freelancer

The question of whether Apple is building a physical Apple Car or just a software platform hasn’t been confirmed either way.

But there are a few hints, such as the fact that Apple was just granted a patent for a special suspension system for a car. Whether that part of the project continues remains to be seen.

Tesla wants Apple’s help in solving IP theft

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Tesla
Tesla and Apple have something in common.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Tesla and Apple have previously engaged in a sort of cold war over next-gen car technologies. However, Elon Musk’s automotive company is now seeking help from Apple — to catch a suspected thief.

The issue involves a lawsuit put forward by Tesla against a former employee, who jumped ship to a Chinese rival while in possession of Tesla secrets. Apple has faced a similar problem in the past.

Apple tech could improve visibility in bad driving conditions

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Street at night 2
This could be an important development for an Apple Car.
Photo: j3n53r/Flickr CC

As part of its Project Titan initiative, Apple has invented some smart tech for improving detection of road signs and other vehicles on the road in low visibility situations.

This could ramp up safety in situations such as an autonomous Apple Car driving in foggy, snowy, low light or otherwise hard-to-see situations.

Today in Apple history: Apple teams with Volkswagen for iBeetle car

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The first Apple car, a collaboration with VW known as the iBeetle, rolls onto the scene.
The first Apple car, a collaboration with VW known as the iBeetle, rolls onto the scene.
Photo: Volkswagen

April 22: Today in Apple history: Apple teams with VW for the iBeetle April 22, 2013: The world gets its first Apple car. Well, kind of.

In reality, the iBeetle is a collaboration with German automaker Volkswagen that offers a car “stylistically linked” to Apple. This means Apple-inspired colors, a built-in docking station for your iPhone, and a special app that lets you control the car’s features.

Apple seeks next-gen Lidar sensors for possible Apple Car

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Apple Car might be coming, but will it be special?
Coming soon to a road near you? Maybe.
Photo: Aristomenis Tsirbas/Freelancer

Apple is reportedly in talks with Lidar makers regarding sensors that could be used for its Apple Car initiative.

A commonly used surveying tool, Lidar measures distances between objects. It works by firing a pulsed laser light, then measuring how long it takes to bounce back. While not exclusively used in self-driving cars, that’s the application the technology is most synonymous with.

Sketchy rumor claims Apple is making an electric minibus

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VW van
Apple reportedly wants to get into the minivan business.
Photo: VW

Apple’s long-rumored self-driving car project might not churn out a car at all. Instead, it might just be an electric minibus.

According to a sketchy new rumor, Apple engineers have supposedly created a new minibus, which should be able to drive autonomously, if it ever hits the road.