Apple, California DMV Reportedly Meet Over Project Titan - InformationWeek

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9/20/2015
12:05 PM
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Apple, California DMV Reportedly Meet Over Project Titan

Apple executives and representatives from California's DMV recently met to discuss Project Titan, the company's self-driving vehicle project, according to the Guardian.

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From a whisper to a roar, the chatter surrounding Apple's secretive Project Titan has amplified by an order of magnitude in recent weeks, with a Sept. 18 report in British newspaper the Guardian about company executives meeting with the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

The tech giant reportedly met with officials from the California DMV to discuss plans for a self-driving car -- a long-rumored project codenamed Titan.

The paper reported that Mike Maletic, a senior legal counsel at Apple, met with Bernard Soriano, the DMV's deputy director, and Stephanie Dougherty, the department's chief of strategic planning, to discuss autonomous vehicle regulation issues.

Intriguingly, Apple's purported quest for a permit to begin testing its alleged self-driving car would lift the veil of secrecy from the project, though so far the DMV has declined to comment on the specifics of its meeting with the company.

(Image: AleksandarNakic/iStockphoto)

(Image: AleksandarNakic/iStockphoto)

California's regulations for the post-testing deployment of autonomous vehicles are currently under development.

The regulations will establish the requirements that manufacturers must meet to certify that their autonomous vehicle has been successfully tested, meets certain safety requirements, and is ready for the general public to operate on public roads.

The California DMV conducted an initial public workshop on the deployment regulations in March 2014, and a second public workshop was conducted at DMV headquarters in January of this year.

That public workshop engaged the interested public in a focused discussion on the requirements of certifications by manufacturers that the autonomous technology can be operated safely on public streets by the general public, and how the department will determine the validity of those certifications.

An earlier report from the Guardian revealed Apple's interest in GoMentum Station, a 5,000-acre, former Navy weapons station in California, which features 20 miles of paved roadway. Other companies have used the location for testing, validation, and commercialization of connected vehicle applications and autonomous vehicle technologies.

With all things Apple, be they smartwatches or self-driving cars, speculation has been running rampant as to exactly what the company is up to, but its tech rivals have also been hard at work developing their own autonomous vehicle concepts.

[Read about Toyota's $50 million investment in AI.]

In an executive move designed to take its self-driving car project from expensive hobbyhorse to potential money-making business, Google has tapped John Krafcik, a former Hyundai CEO and president, to lead its autonomous vehicle division.

In the next few weeks, Google's prototype vehicles will be out navigating the same area north and northeast of downtown Austin, Texas, that its Lexus cars have been driving by themselves for the last couple of months.

A survey of around 3,000 consumers in the United States, China, and Germany, released earlier this month by McKinsey, found consumer interest in self-driving vehicles is high, as long as drivers have the option of taking the wheel when they want to.

Interest is particularly strong among younger drivers who live in cities and those in the world's most traffic-choked metropolises. The report found 93% of Chinese drivers surveyed said they would be interested in a car that would drive itself at least part of the time.

Nathan Eddy is a freelance writer for InformationWeek. He has written for Popular Mechanics, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, FierceMarkets, and CRN, among others. In 2012 he made his first documentary film, The Absent Column. He currently lives in Berlin. View Full Bio

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tslate
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tslate,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/23/2015 | 8:41:56 AM
Re: I like it
LOL, nice try! Apple is NOT a hardware manufacturer LIKE the automotive industry or for that matter what IBM  is. IBM still has manufacturing plants and labs around the world.  Yes, car manufacturers created the industry and maintained it; IBM created the computer industry and for decades maintained it.  We are talking apples and oranges here as IBM, GM, FORD, etc all created, invented and innovated all their products parts, Apple did not.  Does Apple design and build chips like IBM?  Apple did not invent any of the things they use to build smart phones, oh yeah I forgot the rectangle, you're right!  Apple did what exactly? They came in and took what are already established manufacturing facilities for phones, computers, etc and used those they did not INVENT them. The much touted touch screen did they invent that? No they did not, American inventor Dr. G. Samuel Hurst circa 1970.  I give them credit for being innovative in assembling pieces of the puzzle.  Did they also invent Operating Systems too?  I guess according to you they did all these things and more. The way you talk it's as if they created the industry that IBM created, that Microsoft and everyone else doesn't exist and somehow assembling a smart-phone makes you think they're Gods or something.  This whole thread is about a driverless car and Apple will be about as successful as the Blackberry is today.

 "But again, much of your arguments were leveled against Apple re: phones. Most of the 'experts' (and competitors) thought it was far too complex for Apple to just walk into and take over. Well, Apple didn't just walk in and take over... they did their homework and then some... something the competitors weren't willing (or were too lazy) to do. And, for a perfect parallel.... GM, Chrylser, etc."

False rhetoric, two examples come to mind.  IBM never thought Bill Gates would succeed with their PC, of course that is one for the history books.  Second, you obviously never heard of the GM EV1!  Quote: While customer reaction to the EV1 was positive, GM believed that electric cars occupied an unprofitable niche of the automobile market, and ended up crushing all their electric cars, regardless of protesting customers. End Quote.   In both cases IBM and GM decided it wasn't in their best interests to pursue not because they couldn't do it they did not want to!  You clearly don't understand the IBM mainframe or GM mindset, it's not lack of technological innovation.

Tesla will still be an asterisk once the car manufacturers decide that people really want electric only cars, you act again as if they(Big guys) failed at it.  Further Tesla again could not produce an electric car without the advancements in technology of others.  BTW Musk is not responsible either (read the story).

You distort what I'm stating Apple is a good technology company with others in their class but I appreciate and respect all the decades of labor put into getting us(the world) to this point that had nothing to do with Apple.  Ex: "And, your argument is that Apple, Tesla, and others shouldn't use this and start from scratch?"  I never stated that at all, you missed the point, again. 

To your points made, FORD took no bailout money and succeeded.  Speaking of money and trust, Microsoft helped fund Apple in tough times and historically Jobs failed many times and was bailed out with other non-Apple investors. BTW Jobs was far more wealthy from Disney than Apple anyway. So GM got bloated, pretty typical, again so?  Safety you ask?  What is Apple doing about getting people not to text while driving, anything?  Are they saving all those lives that use their phones while driving and actually kill and injure MORE people than any car safety hazard has?  What about China suicide deaths in factories they run or responsible for slave labor like conditions in those factories that produce the iPhone, etc?  No deaths are excusable but ALL the cell phone companies including Apple have way more to answer for than you think.  I guess because of your safety meme we should defund NASA and let SpaceX take over.

"Hmm, so I should trust the old-school companies who supposedly 'know cars'" – YUP because they make cars better than Apple or Tesla ever will and why the world relies on their technology, without which automotive innovation would dry up that we all rely on and would not exist today.

 
stevew928
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stevew928,
User Rank: Ninja
9/22/2015 | 4:35:18 PM
Re: I like it
Hmm, so I should trust the old-school companies who supposedly 'know cars' yet cover-up ignition switch issues that kill people, or design their software to thwart emission standards, etc.? Or, for that matter, have such business and quality issues that it takes them decades to respond (and then, only half-heartedly) to competitors entering the market... or nearly go out of business because of an economic recession.

Yes, the vehicle industry has it's complexities (and phones don't?), but Apple will have to deal with those, just like Tesla has been. But again, much of your arguments were leveled against Apple re: phones. Most of the 'experts' (and competitors) thought it was far too complex for Apple to just walk into and take over. Well, Apple didn't just walk in and take over... they did their homework and then some... something the competitors weren't willing (or were too lazy) to do. And, for a perfect parallel.... GM, Chrylser, etc.

And, so there is a network of manufacturing constructed by the old-school companies. And, your argument is that Apple, Tesla, and others shouldn't use this and start from scratch? Even if you have some ethical IP point to make there (and I'm not sure you do), it seems you're just unwilling to face the brute reality of the situation.

re: "Apple is not a hardware manufacturer..." Good thing I wasn't eating or drinking at the time I read that!!! Read that again, and ask yourself if you thought that through. Apple probably has one of the best hardware development and manufacturing teams on the planet.

re: Driverless - It's baloney... as you can see is my opinion from my other posts. Hopefully they are just working on another good electric car variant.... but I wouldn't doubt it's some kind of driverless thing. No argument from me there.... but I don't trust ANY company/technology working on that stuff in relation to driverless tech.
tslate
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tslate,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/22/2015 | 8:56:27 AM
Re: I like it
I would NOT, the simple fact is that GM, FORD, etc all have significantly more experience(decades) worth than Apple in designing, engineering and manufacturing cars.  The technology THEY created is why a Tesla can be built as efficiently as it can, their IP, not Teslas.  Most all car parts except the internal combustion engine and final assembly, etc are networked, that is FORD, GM created a network of manufacturers rather than keep them in-house over the last few decades that anyone can tap into.  Read how Telsa came about, it will surprise you.

A phone is not a car, a phone isn't going to crash into another phone and kill the user. In fact cell phones are one of the worst road hazards ever invented.  Engineering a car is not the same as writing software.  Apple is not a hardware manufacturer, they did not invent the phone, cell phone,  smart-phone, computer, networks, GUI, touch screen, etc.  They assembled off the backs of others, a nice product however they do not have the experience to build cars.  With the network that was already built they can tap into it like Tesla did. Without FORD, GM, etc. Tesla would not exist but the electric car already did.

You're placing misguided trust in an entity that can only assemble one from parts they know nothing about.  My guess is they'll outsource that part too.  Leaving only the software to manufacture themselves.  Driverless doesn't do that much we already have other modes of transport that are better.  You can thank all the thousands maybe millions of technologists that created these possibilities long before Apple was even born, that's who you're trusting everyday.
stevew928
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stevew928,
User Rank: Ninja
9/21/2015 | 4:14:33 PM
Re: I like it
I'd trust Apple or Tesla WAY before Ford or GM. And remember, that's pretty much the EXACT sentiment we heard when Apple was about to enter the smartphone industry.

But, as for automated cars, people should be somewhat fearful, no matter the manufacturer. Let's hope they just make a good e-car to compete with the Tesla.
stevew928
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stevew928,
User Rank: Ninja
9/21/2015 | 4:10:49 PM
Re: I like it
I guess my thing is that if we really cared about improving safety, we'd change the licensing, training, and infractions system a bit (even a little bit of change there would go a LONG way). And, while I agree that in many generic situations, an automated vehicle might do just fine, and probably better than a texting dodo, they aren't going to do nearly as well as an actual attentitive driver, especially in more adverse conditions.

re: hacks - Yes, if cars become fully computer controlled and networked together (the only way it's going to work)... then security will be a big problem. That said, if you actually believe some of the recent news stories about jeeps being hacked and such, I've got a bridge for sale. :)
mak63
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mak63,
User Rank: Ninja
9/21/2015 | 4:01:44 PM
Re: Drat
@stevew928. You made some good points. Who is at fault in case of an accident if the likes of Cortana, Siri, Google Now, Alexa, etc, and the rest are behind the wheel? If nobody is in the car, that's kinda easy to figure it out. But if we are in the car, with the AI driving, well, that will be another story.
Stratustician
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Stratustician,
User Rank: Ninja
9/21/2015 | 3:13:15 PM
Re: I like it
It's not just the safety aspect that interests me.  As someone who would definitely do more road trips if I could simply load in a destination and know that the car will get me there.  No more worries about late night driving, impaired driving etc.  I agree, self-driving cars can't come soon enough! 

That being said, the amount of security required on an ongoing basis to maintain the security of self driving cars, particularly around firmware hacks and remote control will definitely create a huge industry security push!
tslate
50%
50%
tslate,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/21/2015 | 10:11:08 AM
Re: I like it
Well sarcasm or no, the reality is that GM just paid a huge fine(~1 billion) for the failure of its computerized systems(ignition switches) and Toyota of course paid over 1 billion for the same failure of its computerized systems.  Apple is not the leader in automotive or any engineering for that matter, they did not invent the phone or computer. Apple is absolutely last company I'd want to drive a car they manufactured, they have zero business being in the automotive business. Tesla might be able to manufactuire a specialized electrical vehicle but they will be ultimately be overrun by the big manufacturers where most people will put their trust.  If GM and Toyota have issues why in the world would I trust these other guys just because they have excess cash to throw at something. Maybe Apple should be meeting with Ford and see if they can collaborate, although I doubt Ford would really care.
stevew928
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50%
stevew928,
User Rank: Ninja
9/21/2015 | 9:31:27 AM
Drat
I was hoping Apple was working on a real car, kind of like Tesla, instead of this autonomous baloney.

Yes, I'm sure a lot of people would want one, just like they want flying cars too. That doesn't mean it's a good thing. Will they be able to make them? Sure, they are already driving around. Will they actually work? No, not unless ALL cars are automated on one big system, in limited geographical areas.

Why do I say this? Because AI is A 'artificial' so it's only going to be as good as the program and what the developers can account for. And a LOT of stuff outside of this spectrum will occur, and when it does, the AI will fail. 

Maybe that just means the human driver will have to take over (and that's just what we want... clueless human drivers having to take over in critical situations with little driving experience, while spilling their cappuccino and dropping their iPhones to try and take over the controls). Maybe it means some crazy accidents when the AI can't cut it. And, then there are the ethical and legal implications.

IMO, this is a futurist pipe dream being rammed into action because a bit of limited success has been realized.
ScottH840
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ScottH840,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/20/2015 | 2:08:16 PM
I like it
Self driving cars cannot get here soon enough, think about the thousands of people who won't die in accidents with impaired drivers, thousands of people who won't die by crossing the street, millions of people who can now text and ride to their hearts content. How about a 11 year old that wants to go to the store, couldn't they just hop in the car and get a ride, without his parents. Also, how about no more speeding tickets, half of this countries cities will go bankrupt not fleecing it's people with this illegal tax.
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