Two of Apple’s self-driving cars operating in manual mode were involved in minor collisions in August, according to the California DMV.
The first incident [PDF] occurred in San Diego, California in the Hillcrest area on August 19. The Lexus RX 450h was stopped in traffic and was hit by a Hyundai. The accident was described as minor with no injuries.
The second accident [PDF] occurred on August 23 in Cupertino, California, right near the Apple Park campus. The vehicle with Apple’s self-driving equipment was in manual mode and it was stopped in traffic when it was rear ended by a Subaru Outback.
Both of these incidents were not the fault of the self-driving vehicle or the person operating the vehicle, and are largely not notable. What is interesting, though, is that Apple vehicles were involved in two collisions in the same month after no accidents since September 2019.
Earlier this year, the California DMV’s disengagement and mileage reports suggested that Apple’s Lexus SUVs with self-driving software traversed more than 18,000 miles in 2020, a steep increase compared to prior years. It’s possible that Apple has ramped up its testing in 2021, leading to a higher number of incidents.
Apple has been testing its self-driving software since early 2017, using the aforementioned Lexus RX 450h vehicles outfitted with sensors and cameras. The work on autonomous driving is part of Apple’s longtime car project, and rumors suggest Apple is planning to release a vehicle in the mid to late 2020s.