Apple in Discussions With Bay Area Test Track Focused on Self-Driving Cars

Apple's work on its much-rumored Apple Car is progressing, and the company is said to be scouting for secure locations in the Bay Area where the vehicle can be tested, reports The Guardian. Engineers working on the car project are said to have met with officials at GoMentum Station in May to explore the site as a possible testing facility, suggesting work on the car may be further along than previously thought if there are already prototypes ready for testing.

GoMentum Station is a 2,100-acre former naval base run by the Contra Costa Transportation Authority that's located in the East Bay, approximately an hour and a half from Apple's Cupertino headquarters. The site, advertised as "the largest secure test facility in the world," is used to test both Connected Vehicles and Autonomous Vehicles and is poised to become "the center of CV/AV research."

In correspondence obtained by the Guardian under a public records act request, Apple engineer Frank Fearon wrote: "We would... like to get an understanding of timing and availability for the space, and how we would need to coordinate around other parties who would be using [it]." [...]

In late May, Jack Hall, program manager for autonomous vehicles at GoMentum Station, wrote to Fearon to postpone a tour of the facility but noted: "We would still like to meet in order to keep everything moving and to meet your testing schedule."

What's most notable about today's rumor from The Guardian, aside from the fact that the project is nearly to the prototype phase, is the site's supposition that the vehicle is autonomous. Previous reports about the car, being developed under the code name "Project Titan," have disagreed about whether the car is self-driving.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the car is electric but not autonomous, while Reuters has sources that say the project does indeed include self-driving cars. It's possible that Apple is exploring both autonomous and non-autonomous electric vehicles under the car project, but Apple's interactions with GoMentum Station don't offer insight into the company's plans as the site is for both autonomous and connected vehicles.

Over the last several months, details on Apple's work on an electric car have been trickling out. Apple is said to have hundreds of employees working on the project, and has been recruiting many automotive experts. Apple has also reportedly met with several automobile manufacturers, and even went so far as to explore using the electric BMW i3 as the base for the Apple Car, though talks did not progress to the partnership stage.

Apple is rumored to be aiming to launch its Apple Car in 2020, giving it five years of development time. Of course, the car is still in the early testing stages, and Apple often tests products that never see the light of day. There's a possibility that the Apple Car may never make it to market, even after years of testing, should Apple's plans for the vehicle not pan out.

Related Roundup: Apple Car

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
67 months ago
I'm going to walk around with a stop sign on my tshirt.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
67 months ago

People need to give up on this idea of Apple building a car. They will never do it. They are working on in-car electronics. And they should work with Tesla (or buy Tesla, too).

Profit margins on cars are slim. The market is saturated with established companies. And there's enough liability to bring down the company.

Then Tesla should give up, too. As should every other car manufacturer. **** it, let's go back to walking. Margins are higher in shoes.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
67 months ago
Someone call Scott Fortstall... I need a reliable self-driving car, not one that randomly crashes.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
67 months ago
People need to give up on this idea of Apple building a car. They will never do it. They are working on in-car electronics. And they should work with Tesla (or buy Tesla, too).

Profit margins on cars are slim. The market is saturated with established companies. And there's enough liability to bring down the company.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
67 months ago
I would say transportation is something that definitely is overdue for a major advancement. I would love to be able to eat my breakfast and start my work day at the beginning of my long commute. Or to see my commute become much shorter through advancements in transport. I welcome Apple and anyone who can help move that along.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
67 months ago

What a picture. You really have such bad roads in the USA?

Not in the majority of the USA, no... in South Carolina, I have never seen a road that bad. But in Massachusetts, I saw them all the time because the government is corrupt.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Here's How You Can Download iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 Around the World [It's Out]

Wednesday September 16, 2020 2:36 am PDT by
Apple's official public release of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 dropped on Wednesday, September 16, just a day after the company released the Golden Master to third-party developers. Also set to be made available to the general public for the first time are watchOS 7 and tvOS 14. Getting Started With iOS 14 Video Click image to watch iOS 14 Getting Started While that's left a lot of developers...

When Will the iPhone 12 Launch? Here's What We Know

Wednesday September 16, 2020 6:12 am PDT by
Yesterday's "Time Flies" Apple event saw the release of the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch SE, iPad 8, and iPad Air 4, but no new iPhone models. Rumors before the event strongly alleged that it would not see the unveiling of new iPhones, with many reports pointing to an October launch. The lack of new iPhone models yesterday seems to confirm that the iPhone 12 lineup will not appear...

Apple Releases iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 With Home Screen Redesign, App Library, Compact UI, Translate App, Scribble Support, App Clips, and More

Wednesday September 16, 2020 12:48 pm PDT by
Apple has released iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, the newest operating system updates designed for the iPhone and iPad. As with all of Apple's software updates, iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 can be downloaded for free. iOS 14 is available on the iPhone 6s and later, while iPadOS 14 is available on the iPad Air 2 and later. The updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To ...

Apple Updates AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro Firmware to Version 3A283

Monday September 14, 2020 11:24 am PDT by
Apple today released new 3A283 firmware updates for the second-generation AirPods and the AirPods Pro. The second-generation AirPods are being updated from the 2D15 firmware they were previously running, while the AirPods Pros are being updated from the 2D27 firmware they had installed previously. Apple does not provide details on what's included in refreshed firmware so we don't know what's ...

Spotify Says Apple One Bundle Will Cause 'Irreparable Harm to Developer Community'

Tuesday September 15, 2020 12:26 pm PDT by
Apple today announced Apple One, a series of new subscription bundles that provide access to various Apple services at a combined monthly price. In response, Spotify sent out statements (via Peter Kafka) to the press decrying Apple's anti-competitive behavior and calling on "competition authorities" to stop Apple before it is able to cause "irreparable harm" to developers.Once again, Apple...

iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 7, and tvOS 14 Will Be Released September 16

Tuesday September 15, 2020 11:06 am PDT by
Apple today announced that iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 7, and tvOS 14 will be officially released on Wednesday, September 16. Apple has seeded the final Golden Master beta versions of each update to developers in advance. ‌iOS 14‌ and iPadOS 14 introduce dozens of new features, including a redesigned Home Screen that supports widgets on the iPhone and iPad for the first time. For more...

New AirPods Pro Firmware Introduces Spatial Audio Support and Automatic Switching

Monday September 14, 2020 12:22 pm PDT by
The new 3A283 firmware that Apple released for the AirPods Pro today appears to introduce support for Spatial Audio, a new feature coming to the higher-end AirPods with iOS 14. Multiple reports on Twitter and the MacRumors forums indicate that the firmware update adds a "Spatial Audio" option to the Control Center, which can be activated to enable the feature. Note that using Spatial Audio...

Apple Releases Safari 14 for Mac Ahead of macOS Big Sur Launch

Wednesday September 16, 2020 1:40 pm PDT by
macOS Big Sur didn't launch alongside iOS 14, iPadOS 14, tvOS 14, and watchOS 7 today, with the update coming later this fall, but Apple did release the Safari 14 update for macOS Catalina and macOS Mojave users. Safari 14 brings improved performance, customizable start pages, a Privacy Report to see which cross-site trackers are being blocked, and a new tab bar design that provides tab...

Full Transcript of Apple's 'Time Flies' Event With Apple Watch and iPad Updates

Tuesday September 15, 2020 8:46 am PDT by
Apple's virtual "Time Flies" event kicks off today at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time, with Apple expected to debut new Apple Watch and iPad models, but it appears we may not see the iPhone 12 until next month. While we're not expecting to see new iPhones today, Apple's software updates for its various platforms are likely nearly ready for launch, so we may be hearing more about them today. Check...

Everything Apple Announced at Today's iPad and Apple Watch Event in Just Seven Minutes

Tuesday September 15, 2020 2:19 pm PDT by
Apple today held its annual September event, but this year was a bit different because no new iPhones were announced. The "Time Flies" event focused on the Apple Watch Series 6 and the iPad Air, and saw the debut of a new Apple One services bundle. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. It took Apple an hour to introduce the new devices, but we've recapped the event in...