The rumors of Apple’s interest in either its own electric automobile or at least some form of autonomous software initiative for other companies’ cars have dried up somewhat over the past few weeks and months, but that changed in a big way today on the back of a new report by Business Insider.

As the publication points out, Apple today registered with the state of California to test self-driving cars on its roads.

At this point, it is important to remember that this does not necessarily mean that the Apple Car is back in the reckoning, because Apple would very likely need to follow this path even if it was simply working on software that would allow someone else’s car to drive itself.

What it does mean though, is that we now have the most concrete proof that something relating to self-driving cars is afoot within Apple, and that it is progressing far enough now that real testing is required out on the streets of California. Apple now appears on the list of companies with Autonomous Vehicle Testing Permits on the Department of Motor Vehicles website in California.

Apple also previously popped up on a letter to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration late last year, requesting that the department not restrict autonomous vehicle testing citing its work in the field as a reason.

Apple uses machine learning to make its products and services smarter, more intuitive, and more personal. 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.

With ex-hardware boss Bob Mansfield now back and leading the team said to be working on this very project, it would appear that progress is definitely being made. How far away we are from that progress being turned into a product that Apple is ready to show anyone remains to be seen, but we do not expect it to happen any time soon.

(Source: Business Insider)

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