Apple lobbies for shared data, more public road access to test autonomous driving systems

In a letter to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Apple has expressed interest in cooperating with other companies to accelerate development of its autonomous driving technology, VentureBeat reports. Steve Kenner, Apple’s director of product integrity, sent the letter to advocate for a data-sharing program that would let companies swap “de-identified scenario and dynamics data from crashes and near-misses” while still maintaining the privacy that the company so closely guards. In the letter Kenner admits, “The company is investing heavily in the study of machine learning and automation, and is excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation.”
Kenner also makes it clear that Apple wants the same access that “established manufacturers” have to test their devices on public roads “without pursuing exemptions.” Current Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards—including the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act—don’t allow for a company like Apple to take part in that type of testing. In his letter, Kenner argues that allowing Apple more access with less red tape will help “the significant societal benefits of automated vehicles” be realized more safely and much faster.


Dan Pye was a news editor at iLounge. He's been involved with technology his whole life, and started writing about it in 2009. He's written about everything from iPhone and iPad cases to Apple TV accessories.