A Bloomberg report claims that Apple more than doubled the road testing of its autonomous test cars in 2020 up to 18,805 miles from 7,544 miles in 2019. Even the disengagement levels of the cars improved from 145 miles from 118 miles. This is evidence of improvement in Apple's self-driving technology, however, compared to players like Waymo and GM funded Cruise, Apple still is seemingly light years behind.
GM's Cruise and Waymo both combined to have run over 1.4 million miles in comparison while even Apple ran its cars over 80,000 miles in 2018, so these numbers are really small in the scheme of things. It is also further evidence of the fact that Apple is years behind releasing a self-driving car even though there is a lot of chatter these days that the company may launch a car in the next 4-5 years.
In 2018, Apple recruited Tesla Chief Engineer Doug Fields to oversee the project on a day to day basis. He reported into Apple veteran and former hardware chief Bob Mansfield who was brought out of retirement to rejig the project. But recently Mansfield retired and Fields and his team started reporting to John Giannandrea, Apple's AI boss.
As of now, Apple has hundreds of engineers and it has hired some key people from automakers like Porsche. It has also held talks with the likes of Hyundai and Magna for manufacturing. Apple is reportedly also developing breakthrough battery technology which could be a game-changer for electric vehicles.