American technology giant Apple has at last confirmed its plans to become a player in the coming autonomous vehicle market, in a letter to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration - although the extent of its plans remains unclear.

apple-store-palo-alto

Dated November 22, 2016, the document mentions areas where Apple is developing technologies and systems that could contribute to autonomous vehicles.

"Apple uses machine learning to make its products and services smarter, more intuitive, and more personal," writes Steve Kenner, director of product integrity.

"The company is investing heavily in the study of machine learning and automation, and is excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation."

"Apple looks forward to collaborating with [the] NHTSA and other stakeholders so that the significant societal benefits of automated vehicles can be realized safely, responsibly, and expeditiously," he added.

APPLE-CAR-PLAY-5

Above: Apple CarPlay

While the letter doesn't confirm nor deny the development of 'Project Titan' - which was believed to be the codename for the company's upcoming 'Apple Car' - it definitely hints at the Cupertino-based firm's plans to play a role in the autonomous vehicle market.

In a new article by Financial Times, Apple has issued a statement confirming the letter to the NHTSA and its interest in defining guidelines for driverless cars.

"We’ve provided comments to NHTSA because Apple is investing heavily in machine learning and autonomous systems," said an Apple spokesperson.

"There are many potential applications for these technologies, including the future of transportation, so we want to work with NHTSA to help define the best practices for the industry."

apple-mystery-dodge-caravan

Above: A Chrysler Grand Voyager-based prototype believed to be an Apple development mule

It was thought Apple's plans for an automotive product were put on ice, after a recent report indicated the company had laid off numerous employees working on the project.

Another article in October claimed 'Titan' has been scaled back from an industry-changing driverless electric car to an autonomous vehicle platform that will be supplied to car manufacturers.

Now, however, it seems the technology giant is looking to provide autonomous driving and connected vehicle systems, as opposed to its own car.

What do you think about Apple's letter to the NHTSA? Let us know in the comments below