There have long been rumors about the firm's plans but it had not publicly addressed them. However, Ford, which itself plans to have self-driving cars on the road by 2021, has said it was working on the basis that Apple was building one. Apple has acknowledged for the first time that it is investing in self-driving car tech. The tech firm has already registered several car-related internet domains, including apple.car and apple.auto. Google is already testing self-driving cars on the roads. In October, electric carmaker Tesla announced that all the cars it now builds will have the hardware installed to drive on their own.
In a letter to US transport regulators, Apple said it was "excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation". A company spokesman for Apple said that the letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was prompted by its "heavy investment in machine learning and autonomous systems" and that it wanted to help define best practices in the industry. It added that there were "significant societal benefits of automated vehicles" to be realized.