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Take a Peek at Apple's First Self-Driving Car

It's been just two weeks since Apple secured its self-driving car permit in California, but an autonomous car operated by the tech giant has already hit the road.

Eagle-eyed observers in Silicon Valley this week snapped images of Apple testing self-driving car technology. This isn't the long-rumored Apple Car, but rather a white Lexus RX450h SUV, according to Bloomberg, which obtained images of the car.

Bloomberg reports the car itself didn't have any identifiers that would suggest it was an Apple car. However, the car, which was outfitted with sensors and cameras and came from Apple's campus, suggesting it's the company's vehicle.

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Apple has been rumored to be working on car technology for the last few years. However, there's some debate over its exact plans. Earlier reports had suggested that Apple would build its own car that would take to the roads alongside those from Tesla and others.

However, in the past year, other reports have suggested Apple would instead develop self-driving car technology and leave the actual carmaking process to others.

Apple's car ambitions took on greater importance earlier this month, when the California Department of Motor Vehicles announced that it would allow Apple to test self-driving car technology across the state. The company is apparently moving swiftly to do just that.

For its part, Apple hasn't commented on any automotive ambitions. It has, though, filed for several patents on technologies that could come bundled with its offering, including a heads-up display. There's also talk that Apple could deliver augmented reality integration into the car technology.

According to Bloomberg, the car that was roving around Silicon Valley this week was equipped with 64-channel lidar, at least two radar, and several cameras. An industry expert told Bloomberg that the components aren't custom-made.

Apple's car choice is also notable. Alphabet's Waymo is also using a Lexus RX450h for its own self-driving car testing in California.

Don Reisinger is a communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter who has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine and The New York Times, as well as Tom's Guide.