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Apple is the 30th company to receive a permit to drive experimental self-driving vehicles in the state.

Apple has received a permit from California's Department of Motor Vehicles for testing experimental autonomous vehicles in the state.The company now appears at the bottom of a list of permit holders, the 30th entry following a few lesser known startups and Uber. Volkswagen was the first applicant, followed by Mercedes-Benz and Google.

Earlier reports suggest Apple's autonomous car strategy has shifted over time, initially exploring if the company could develop its own car in-house. The ambitions were apparently scaled back and the company late last year sent a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicating plans to invest broadly in machine learning and automation.

Like Google, Apple is said to be operating a small fleet of Lexus RX450h hybrid crossovers to test its autonomous hardware and software.

The Cupertino-based company will be required to file regular reports detailing statistics on its self-driving car project, including any instances of human intervention or accidents.