Apple Had First Self-Driving Car Crash Last Week


Apple revealed that its first self-driving car crash happened in California last week.

According to the filing Apple employee Steve Kenner submitted to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the vehicle — a Lexus RX450h — crashed during a driving test at 2:58 p.m. (PST) on August 24 near Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino.

“An Apple test vehicle in autonomous mode was rear-ended while preparing to merge onto Lawrence Expressway South from Kifer Road,” according to the report published by the DMV on Friday (August 31). “The Apple test vehicle was traveling less than 1 mph waiting for a safe gap to complete the merge when a 2016 Nissan Leaf contacted the Apple test vehicle at approximately 15 mph. Both vehicles sustained damage and no injuries were reported by either party.”

On an earnings call last year Apple CEO Tim Cook said that Apple had a “large project” focusing on autonomy and artificial intelligence. “From our point of view, autonomy is sort of the mother of all AI projects,” Cook said, according to CNBC.

Alphabet subsidiaries Waymo and Google have so far reported around 33 collisions involving their self-driving cars. And earlier this year, Uber’s self-driving car in Tempe, Arizona, struck and killed a pedestrian, marking the first known fatality of a pedestrian by an autonomous vehicle.

Apple secured a self-driving road test permit from the California DMV in 2017, allowing the company to test the technology in three Lexus RX 450h models, a luxury hybrid SUV. Apple joined 29 other automotive and tech companies who have received test permits in California for self-driving technology.

It’s not surprising that companies want to get in on the autonomous action. Research from McKinsey projects that new services — including on-demand mobility services and data-driven services like connected car applications, software and remote services — could create up to $1.5 trillion in additional revenue potential in the automotive industry by 2030.