Documents from California’s Department of Motor Vehicles revealed that two of Apple’s self-driving Lexus RX 450h got into accidents within a week of each other in the state. Both incidents were of the same nature, whereby neither the cars nor its drivers were at fault as they were rear-ended. These are the first incidents to be reported involving Apple’s autonomous vehicles since 2019, which was also caused by the other party.
The first incident involved in San Diego, California in the Hillcrest area on August 19, where the Apple car, while in manual mode, was hit from the back while stopped in a parking lot by a Hyundai, with no injuries. The second minor incident happened near the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, where a Subaru Outback struck the Apple car’s rear bumper while it was at a stop sign. Similarly, the car was in manual mode and being driven by an operator.
Apple has been working on its car since 2014, internally known as Project Titan, and is speculated to be released sometime between 2025 to 2027. As of 2018, the company has a total of 27 vehicles in its California testing fleet, adding 24 cars in just one year. In the California DMV disengagement and mileage reports released earlier this year, Apple’s custom Lexus SUVs had covered more than 18,805 miles in 2020, more than double of its total the previous year.
Lexus 450h SUVs have been used by Apple for its vehicle tests since 2017, starting with just three vehicles that were registered with the DMV. Pictures of the self-driving cars started popping up when passersby in San Francisco spotted vehicles, sporting an arrangement of Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) sensors, on the top.