First Apple registers Apple.car - now Google nabs Google.car

In the past few weeks, Apple has registered several auto-related domains, adding to suggestions that it is planning a move into autonomous vehicles.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Unlike Apple, Google has been open about its driverless vehicle ambitions and has also just registered new auto-related general top-level domains.

Image: Google

Apple has recently registered several vehicle-related generic top-level domains, fuelling speculation that it could be planning to launch an auto business.

Apple-focused site MacRumors reported that Apple had registered apple.car, apple.cars, and apple.auto. The three domains were registered by the company in December and are recorded on whois.domaintools.com, though none of the sites is yet active.

Why Apple registered the domains remains unclear but the move follows mounting speculation that the iPhone maker has designs on the electric-vehicle market and may also be building autonomous vehicles.

Multiple reports point to Apple having hundreds of employees working on Project Titan, amid claims that the company has been aggressively poaching staff from numerous vehicle manufacturers, including Tesla.

The Guardian has previously reported that Apple has attempted to secure a testing ground for autonomous vehicles in San Francisco and discussed autonomous vehicle regulations with California's department of motor vehicles.

Apple is reportedly stepping up its efforts to create an electric car with a ship date of 2019, which comes as the company searches for its next major product category.

Still, the domains could be related to Apple's other existing vehicle products such as CarPlay, which will roll out to Sync-enabled Ford vehicles over the next year.

Google hasn't been as secretive about its driverless vehicle ambitions, but has also registered new auto-related general top-level domains in the past week.

According to whois.domaintools.com records, Google registered google.car and google.auto on January 7. Neither of those sites is active either.

Ford and Google were rumoured to be announcing a manufacturing partnership at CES last week. However, while Ford did detail its driverless car technology, there was no mention of a Google partnership.

Google's latest activity summary for its driverless vehicles in California and Texas detail how it has adapted its camera and laser sensors for rainy weather. According to Google, it's had to develop mini windscreen wipers for the dome containing the sensors to ensure visibility.

Google notes it has taught its vehicles to drive more cautiously in wet conditions and says, "If it's particularly stormy, our cars automatically pull over and wait until conditions improve."

The company added that it is beginning to collect data in rainy and snowy conditions. It reported no accidents to California's DMV in December.

Read more about Apple and Google automotive efforts

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