City Documents Reveal Code Names of Secret Buildings Likely for Apple Car
Apple secretly purchased and leased several buildings in the Silicon Valley area and naming them after Greek mythological figures and other interesting inspirations in 2014 and 2015, according to city documents obtained by the Silicon Valley Business Journal (via Business Insider).
Apple and its contractors have been building out a network of industrial projects throughout the South Bay, giving them intriguing monikers largely drawn from Greek mythology and filling them with heavy-duty equipment, including gear with potential automotive applications.
In February, loud "motor noises" were heard emanating from an Apple-leased Sunnyvale campus, sparking speculation that the building was a secret car testing facility for Apple's automotive project, dubbed Project Titan. In classical Greek mythology, Titans are divine beings who preceded the more well-known Greek gods like Zeus and Athena. Several of Apple's newly-leased buildings are named after Greek mythological figures who have direct connection to Titans.
The Sunnyvale facility that emanated the reported "motor noises" is called Rhea, and city documents show that the building plans make references to automotive terms like "lube bay," "wheel balancer," "tire changer" and "wheel sensor." Rhea, in Greek mythology, was a Titan who was also the mother of Zeus.
Zeus is also the name of a 290,000 square foot San Jose complex Apple bought in 2015. The location will house an "interim lab" that employs 15 people and an exterior service yard blocked out by a 12-foot fence with a black plastic material on the inside and a black mesh on the outside. The fence will "prevent any visual connection to the service yard from the parking lot," according to the city documents.
Another building is named after Athena, daughter of Zeus. It's unknown what the building will be used for, but the Silicon Valley Business Journal says it will undergo a "lengthy facilities closure process" as it was originally used by semiconductor manufacturers. Another building is named after the Pegasus, a Greek mythological creature that's best described as a horse with wings. Apple demolished the interior of that building and plans to create new testing and mechanical rooms within.
The final building named after a Greek mythological figure is a 105,000 square foot facility. This location, named after Medusa, will have rooms marked for "participant testing," "eye tracking," "vision lab," "spray room," and "metal / machine room." A list of chemicals for the facility lists car products like Turtle Wax Bug and Tar Remover and Bondo Body Filler. A contractor's filing found by the Silicon Valley Business Journal says the building will be used for research and design. In Greek mythology, Medusa's head is eventually placed on Athena's shield.
The other buildings aren't inspired by Greek mythology. One building, which will be used to support a "regenerative thermal oxidizer," is named Magnolia. The machine is used to treat exhaust air, and is utilized by many manufacturing companies, including those in the car industry. Another building is named Corvinus and is planned for industrial use. The final building is named Aria and will have "stepper" tools installed inside.
In January, it was reported that Apple Car lead Steve Zadesky had left Apple, with the company issuing a temporary hiring freeze as Apple executives were not happy with the progress of the project. While these recent developments put the future of the project in question, Tim Cook teased the Apple Car in February by saying "it's going to be Christmas Eve for a while," suggesting the much-rumored project will not be publicly revealed for sometime.