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Apple’s self-driving vehicle crashes during testing in California

US technology behemoth Apple has suffered a setback in its effort to lead the global movement towards a future of autonomous driving during testing of its self-driving program in California.

One of Apple's self-driving cars crashed during testing after it was waiting for a gap to merge into a highway, according to an official report that was filed by the state's Department of Motor Vehicles.

Apple has been seen as a pioneering force in the development of self-driving technology which represents the future of the automotive industry, despite scepticism of autonomous cars and self-driving technology remaining high amongst US motorists.

The Apple self-driving car involved in the accident was a modified Lexus SUV that was rear-ended as it travelled at under 1 mile per hour and both vehicles sustained damage, but no injuries were reported.

Some media reports have claimed that the incident was due to human error, and a comprehensive report in last years' Consumer Affairs found that drivers had a tendency to rear-end self-driving cars because of the speed at which many of them are travelling.

However, it quoted Dr Phil Koopman, an experienced software engineer, who declared that the problem lies in the fact that connected cars don't behave in the same way as human drivers.

Last month Apple sparked speculation it is preparing a major push around connected vehicles after re-hiring a former hardware VP who quit the company for a role with electric car maker Tesla.

Doug Field's appointment to Project Titan suggested Apple is committed to the autonomous vehicle sector, despute recent speculation the company had reduced its work on the project.