According to the California DMV, Apple has increased the size of its autonomous vehicle (AV) test fleet. It now has 68 vehicles licensed for autonomous testing, up from 66 in our last report in July of this year. This is the first increase we’ve seen in the size of Apple’s fleet since 2021. Apple’s team of AV drivers, meanwhile, has been reduced. It is now at 145, down from 152 in July.
The California DMV keeps track of the number of AVs and drivers licensed to drive them for each manufacturer testing AVs in the state. While some manufacturer’s programs have seen a lot of change over the years, Apple’s numbers have remained relatively steady, with a notable exception earlier this year when it drastically cut the number of drivers for its AV program.
The idea of self-driving cars may be exciting to many, but there have always been concerns about the safety of such vehicles. Last week, California suspended Cruise’s driverless permit after an incident involving a pedestrian. Although Apple has been in the AV game since 2017, it still has not applied for a driverless permit, and so all of its test vehicles are required to have a driver present.
Here are the most recent numbers for some of the major manufacturers currently testing their AV technology in California.
Fleet volumes from the California DMV as of October 27, 2023
|WOVEN BY TOYOTA||47||30|
Other than Cruise’s exit, there hasn’t been much change in the numbers of vehicles approved for driverless testing in California since our last report. Waymo has added 19 more vehicles, and Zoox and WeRide have each added 1. Apple has still not applied for a permit to test driverless vehicles in the state of California as of October 27, 2023.
Driverless fleet volumes as of October 27, 2023
Now that Cruise is out, there are only three manufacturers licensed to deploy driverless vehicles in California.
|Dec 23, 2020||NURO|
|Sep 30, 2021||WAYMO|
|June 8, 2023||MERC BENZ|
All incidents involving any AV test vehicle must be reported to the California DMV. Most of these are minor, and many only involve the AV and a bit of road debris. For example, the most recent accidents for Apple include an October 13th incident where one of its cars ran over a piece of sheet metal and a September 29th incident where a piece of lumbar was projected onto the test vehicle by another car. There was minor damage to the car in each case.
Drivered collision volumes January 1, 2019 – October 27, 2023
Driverless collision volumes January 1, 2019 – October 27, 2023
Previous coverage of Apple’s autonomous vehicle program
- March 2023: Apple Increases Number of Test Drivers for Its Autonomous Fleet, Keeps Fleet Size Steady
- January 2023: Apple Adds More Drivers to Autonomous Vehicle Team; Decreases Fleet Size
- November 2022: Apple Has Added 51 More Drivers in 2022 While Fleet Size Remains Steady
- September 2022: Apple Adds More Drivers to its Autonomous Vehicle Program; Waymo, Cruise Make Huge Additions to Their Driverless Fleets
- June 2022: New Apple Autonomous Vehicle Data: 7 More Drivers for Apple’s Fleet
Early autonomous vehicle coverage