Apple selects steering wheel for games as backup for autonomous driving

Article by Christian A., on April 28, 2017

If you’ve ever visited an arcade, chances are you have already seen a Logitech G920 wheel. If that doesn’t ring a bell, it’s the steering wheel that you use when playing racing games. For Apple however, this device can serve a better purpose than simply gaming.

According to Business Insider, through documents that came to its possession, the brand’s entry to the world of autonomous cars will have a training program wherein testers will be taught how to get back manual control. Those familiar with racing games will likely see that the main feature of this training program is the Logitech wheel. While the photo included in the documents were in black-and-white and appear sketchy, there is a high possibility that it is indeed the Logitech G27. Though no longer being sold by Logitech, a similar version being sold on eBay is priced at about $200.

The documents further reveal that there will be a makeshift rig wherein the individual is expected to sit. They will then undergo a total of seven tests from driving at different speeds to undergoing maneuvers. Once the brakes or the wheel are used, this will immediately disengage the electric mode. Operators though can still use the accelerator.

At present, Apple has three sport utility Lexus RX450h vehicles which will be fitted with this autonomous technology. Apple adds that it has already received permission to conduct initial tests in California. In a letter sent by Director of Product Integrity at Apple Steve Kenner to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration just last December, he said that the company has already begun investing in this field and has been studying automation and machine learning. The brand is excited as well, he added, with what automation can offer to the transportation industry.

With this, Apple will be going against the like of automakers like Ford, Tesla, and Volkswagen. The brand will be competing as well against tech-based companies like Uber, Delphi, and Google.

According to Kenner, if Apple manages to implement this correctly based on the guidelines set by the NHTSA, automated vehicles improve even more the human experience. He adds that this include being able to prevent car crashes which can run to millions. It is also expected to prevent or lessen the number of fatalities on an annual basis. Apple also said they also want to be able to give mobility to people who have yet to experience being inside one.

Automakers are still finding ways to make customers appreciate autonomous driving. Uber has continued on with its self-driving cars despite facing a number of crashes. Both Porsche and Audi have collaborated to come up with an autonomous model that is powered by electricity. Ford meanwhile revealed that its plans to release an autonomous model by 2026.

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