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Apple confirms open secret: It's 'investing heavily' in machine learning, autonomous car

Christine Wang
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Apple (AAPL) appears to be shifting into the fast lane to exploring the creation of autonomous vehicles.

In a letter it submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently, the tech giant appeared to confirm an open secret: That it is in fact working on a self-driving car.

"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," Apple said in a letter dated Nov. 22, the deadline set by the NHTSA.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that Apple had submitted a letter to the agency.

The development is in line with recent headlines about Apple's Project Titan, its rumored self-driving car enterprise.

In October, Bloomberg reported that the executives had given the team until late 2017 to demonstrate the feasibility of an autonomous vehicle. Apple is also said to be working on a operating system for cars, Bloomberg also reported.

But Apple is just one of several tech titans that have submitted remarks to the federal government. There are over 1,000 comments posted on the dedicated docket folder. The agency invited members of the public to comment on their "Federal Automated Vehicles Policy," which it characterized as a "starting point that provides initial guidance."

"It will necessarily evolve over time, changing based on public comment; the experience of the agency, manufacturers, suppliers, consumers, and others; and/or further technological innovation," the agency said on its site.

"NHTSA intends to revise and refine the document within one year, and periodically thereafter, to reflect such public input, experience, and innovation, and will address significant comments received in the next revision of this document," it added.

The docket also has comments from Ford (NYSE:F), Toyota Motor (Tokyo Stock Exchange: 7203.T-JP) North America, Tesla Motors (TSLA) and Delphi (DLPH).

Read Apple's full letter below:



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