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Many automaker and ride-hailing giants are in the race, however, Tesla which now has 39 self-driving vehicles and Uber which has 29 cars.

That makes it the second largest fleet in the state, behind only GM's Cruise. After downsizing the team, Apple made the hard decision to abandon plans to build a vehicle and focus instead on the core technology behind autonomous driving, e.g. sensors, LIDAR, radar units, AI, and data processing.

APPLE IS RUNNING more than 50 autonomous cars around California, the state's Department of Motor Vehicles has told Mac Reports. Apple had only three cars on the road in 2017 before expanding to 27 this January and is now up to 55.

Currently, the California DMV has provided permits to 53 companies for self-driving cars that include safety drivers, resulting in a total of 409 vehicles and 1,573 safety drivers in the US. Apple actually has more self-driving cars in testing than self-driving pioneers such as Waymo (51) and Tesla (39), as well as big automotive companies like BMW (12), Toyota (11), and Mercedes Benz (5).

National Police Week events today in Middle Tennessee
Kennedy, 36, was the victim of the first fatal accident involving an officer in the history of the Mount Airy Police Department. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, Texas leads in officer related deaths in the nation.

Apple's quickly growing fleet of cars suggests that it's certainly taking self-driving development seriously. That gives it the second-largest fleet in the U.S., ahead of Waymo's 51 cars, but still well behind GM Cruise, which boasts 104.

Each participant in this self-driving auto race must have a safety driver in the vehicle during testing. Apple CEO Tim Cook has called self-driving "a core technology that we view as very important".

But before a company can acquire the required permit, it has to test its cars in a controlled setting.