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Apple explores rules of the road for self-driving cars

A man drives a Google Inc. self-driving car in front of the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California, US, on Friday, on Sept 27, 2013.

[SAN FRANCISCO] The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) on Friday said that it met with Apple to discuss rules of the road regarding testing self-driving cars.

"The Apple meeting was to review DMV's autonomous vehicle regulations," a department spokesperson told AFP in an email response to an inquiry.

"DMV often meets with various companies regarding DMV operations." Apple has not commented on rumors that it is working on a self-driving car, and the California-based technology colossus did not respond to an AFP request to contribute to this story.

The DMV's responsibilities include developing regulations for safe operation of self-driving vehicles. To that end, members of the department meet with companies to better understand the technology.

Google and several major car makers have been pursuing autonomous vehicle technology.

Google has been testing self-driving cars in Silicon Valley and elsewhere.

Toyota early this month announced plans to invest US$50 million into building artificial intelligence into cars, an indication it could be joining the race to develop driverless vehicles.

The joint research with Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will take place over the next five years, Toyota Motor Corporation said, emphasising its interest in technology that could be used by people as they grow old or become less able to drive safely.

While the Japanese automobile giant did not mention making cars that drive themselves, it did promise work on "intelligent vehicle technology."

A Stanford lab led by professor Fei-Fei Li will work with Toyota and MIT to use computer vision, machine learning and large-scale data analysis to enable vehicles to navigate complex traffic situations.

"Our team will work to help intelligent vehicles recognize objects in the road, predict behaviors of things and people, and make safe and smart driving decisions under diverse conditions," Mr Li said.