Apple has experienced its first autonomous car crash in California, state DMV records reveal. The incident occurred on August 24 and, based on the publicly available report, was the result of a different vehicle that struck the rear of the autonomous car. The incident is described to have happened during daylight hours and didn’t result in injuries.
Facts about the incident surfaced in an autonomous vehicle collision report filed with the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles. Apple Inc. is listed as manufacturer/business; the autonomous vehicle is listed as a 2016 Lexus RX450h, and it was struck at low speeds by a 2016 Nissan Leaf.
The accident was a head-on collision for the Nissan Leaf and listed as a rear-end collision for the Apple autonomous car. The company has been infamously secretive about its car project, the only details about it coming from leaks and random disclosures such as this DMV report.
In describing the accident, the DMV report states:
‘On August 24th at 2:58PM, an Apple test vehicle in autonomous mode was rear-ended while preparing to merge onto Lawerence Expressway South from Kifer Road. The test vehicle was traveling less than 1 mph waiting for a safe gap to complete the merge when a 2016 Nissan Leaf contacted the test vehicle at approximately 15 mph. Both vehicles sustained damage and no injuries were reported by either party.’
The overwhelming majority of reported accidents involving self-driving cars were due to human, not machine, error. The noteworthy exception is Uber’s tragic collision earlier this year in which one of its self-driving vehicles struck a woman who was crossing the road; she later died from her injuries.
Apple has been researching and testing self-driving cars, but its project has only come to light through occasional disclosures, not from the company itself. Alphabet, meanwhile, has been more transparent about the autonomous car research going on at its Waymo arm.
Apple has 66 autonomous vehicles approved for testing in California, according to the DMV. Waymo has 88 and Tesla has 39. Apple received permission to test autonomous vehicles on California public roads in 2017.
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