Apple has pushed its secret self-driving cars project into fourth gear, following reports the Californian giant has doubled its fleet of test vehicles.

Citing data from California’s Department of Motor Vehicles, Apple has increased the number of self-driving test cars from 27 in January, to 45.

According to The Financial Times, the data reveals Apple is considerably ahead of its rivals – Tesla has permits for 39 self-driving cars, and Uber 29. Renowned leader in the development of self-driving cars, Waymo, has recently culled its fleet from 100 in June, to 24.

Uber has since suspended its trials of self-driving cars, following Sunday’s unfortunate fatal crash which hit a pedestrian.

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Apple now boasts the second largest fleet of autonomous cars in its home state of California, led by General Motors who reportedly hosts 110 test vehicles.

Recent reports reveal Apple’s ultra-secret self-driving cars initiative is internally titled ‘Project Titan’, and the company received its first permit for testing three vehicles in April 2017.

In June last year, Apple Chief Executive, Tim Cook, famously referred to autonomous cars as the “mother of all” artificial intelligence endeavours:

“We do have a large project going and are making a big investment in this”

‘The autonomous systems can be used in a variety of ways and a vehicle is only one”

‘There are many different areas of it and I don’t want to go any further with that”.

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