Apple will begin testing self-driving car tech in California

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Apple will begin testing self-driving car technology in California, its first public move into a highly competitive field that could radically change transportation.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles awarded Apple a permit to test autonomous vehicles Friday and disclosed that information on its website . A spokesman for the department said the permit will cover three vehicles - all 2015 Lexus RX 450h hybrid SUVs - and six individual drivers. The state requires a human behind the wheel during such testing.

Apple confirmed that it will begin testing self-driving technology in the state, but provided no details. It pointed to a December statement it provided to federal regulators that stated Apple is investing heavily in "machine learning and autonomous systems" and noted "many potential applications" for these technologies.