Apple Inc.’s secretive self-driving car project is on course for a public debut. The technology giant on Friday secured a permit for autonomous-vehicle testing in California, the clearest sign to date of progress in Apple’s efforts to develop self-driving car technology. The permit, awarded by California’s Department of Motor Vehicles, is Apple’s first for

autonomous cars and allows it to test drive vehicles on public roads in the largest U.S. state by population, adding it to a list of rivals that includes Google parent Alphabet Inc. GOOGL -0.15% and Tesla Inc. TSLA 2.41% The move indicates Apple is going beyond testing on private tracks and in simulators as it works to improve artificial-intelligence systems that must learn to interact in the unpredictable world of human drivers. MORE