Apple Car rumors have been slow for the past couple of months. Today, a story from MacReports says the company has increased the number of self-driving cars but decreased by almost half the number of drivers licensed to drive these cars.

As of today, Apple has 68 self-driving test cars, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles. In November of 2018, the company reached a peak of 72 cars, then a few months later, it was 66 operating vehicles.

In October of 2020, Apple had 154 drivers, but since then, the company has drastically cut its numbers of drivers by more than half to 76 drivers for its autonomous fleet.

In March, Apple was granted a patent for the night vision system that combines visible light, near-infrared (NIR), and long-wave infrared (LWIR) sensors for a comprehensive view of what lays ahead, which could allow an Apple Car autonomous driving system to “see” three times farther at night than a human driver.

According to MacReports, although Apple had increased its self-driving test cars and decreased the number of drivers, the company has not applied yet for a driverless testing permit.

The company has been reported to have discussed a possible partnership with a wide range of established carmakers. These include Hyundai/Kia, Nissan, BMW, and Canoo. The Hyundai/Kia idea was once presented as if it were almost a done deal, before later being dismissed – though there remains some minor partnership talk.

As for now, it’s unclear how Apple will promote its car. Rumors point to possible release dates in 2024, 2026, 2028, or beyond. Apple could also not be really developing a car itself but technology for vehicles.

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About the Author

José Adorno

Brazilian tech Journalist. Author at 9to5Mac. Previously at tv globo, the main TV broadcaster in Latin America.

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