Apple, better known for laptops and mobile phones, has admitted for the first time that it is working on technology to develop self-driving cars. The company, which has been rumoured to be interested in the automated car market for the past two years, confirmed its previously secret initiative in a statement to the US highways regulator. "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," the letter from Steve Kenner, Apple's director of product integrity, to the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stated. The letter offered no details of the project, instead highlighting the "significant societal benefits of automated vehicles", which it described as a life-saving technology, potentially preventing millions of car crashes and thousands of fatalities each year. Although fully automated cars are not expected to be in use in the UK for several years, trials have already taken place both in Britain and the US.
A new self-driving'pod' capable of carrying eight passengers at one time around cities and airports will launch tomorrow. The Pod Zero, which has a range of 60 miles, has been designed transform the way people move around cities by offering transport over the last couple of miles of a journey. However, anyone in a hurry may need to brace themselves – the futuristic vehicles have a top speed of just 15mph. The'next generation' of autonomous vehicles are to be unveiled at an event in Birmingham. The Pod Zero (artist's impression) will carry up to eight passengers and can accommodate wheelchairs.