According to documents obtained by the Guardian, Mike Maletic, a senior legal counsel at Apple, had an hour-long meeting on 17 August with the department’s self-driving car experts Bernard Soriano, DMV deputy director, and Stephanie Dougherty, chief of strategic planning, who are co-sponsors of California’s autonomous vehicle regulation project, and Brian Soublet, the department’s deputy director and chief counsel.
Officials wouldn't comment on what was discussed at the meeting, save to say, "the Apple meeting was to review [the] DMV’s autonomous vehicle regulations."
Notably, back in May, engineers from Apple's secretive Special Project group met with officials from GoMentum Station, a 2,100-acre former naval base near San Francisco that's been turned into a high-security testing ground for autonomous vehicles. While Apple showed interest in the facility, it's not believed to have started testing there.
If Apple does seek a permit from California to test its car on the roads, it may have to sacrifice the secrecy it's used to. Vehicle manufacturers have to report the make, model, and VIN of the cars they want to test, reveal details of about its autonomous system, and identify the drivers. In addition, they have to explain how drivers would cope with malfunctions, report incidents where the car hands back control to the driver and report any accidents.
The Guardian suggests that Apple's meeting with the DMV means that its vehicle may be ready for testing on the roads. It also reports that an engineering program manager has been assigned to the project, dubbed Project Titan. These managers usually arrive once a project is ready to leave the lab.
You can follow iClarified on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or RSS for updates.