Photo via Nick Youngson/Picserver.

Photo via Nick Youngson/Picserver.

Apple recently expanded its fleet of self-driving cars for testing on public roads in California to 55, which is up from 27 in January, reports CNET's Roadshow.

Apple now has the second largest autonomous vehicle fleet in California. Only General Motors Cruise surpasses Apple with 104 registered autonomous vehicles operating in the state, reports DigitialTrends. Waymo is ranked third with a self-driving fleet of 51.

The 55 Apple vehicles are registered for testing strictly with human safety drivers behind the wheel. The company presently has 83 certified drivers. However, Apple has not applied for one of California's new fully driverless autonomous testing permits, reports Roadshow.

There is speculation among the industry as to the direction of Apple's long-term plan. The consensus appears to be that the tech innovator is seeking to license its technology that powers autonomous vehicles rather than build one itself, according to reports.

It may be no coincidence that Apple's increase in fleet size comes on the heels of news that Chinese ridesharing giant, Didi Chuxing, plans to roll-out its own autonomous vehicles in California. The company recently received a permit from California authorities.

Apple appears to want a bigger bite out the market and will likely be in the self-driving space for the long haul, according to reports.

Related: Apple's CEO Outlines Autonomous Driving Project

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