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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."

gomentumstation.jpg
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.

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

JCrz

macrumors 6502
Sep 12, 2014
447
1,310
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.
 

Saucesome2000

macrumors 6502
Dec 10, 2014
338
320
Nashville, TN
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.
 

69Mustang

macrumors 604
Jan 7, 2014
7,889
15,034
In between a rock and a hard place
What a picture. You really have such bad roads in the USA?

That's not a public road.
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."
 

Saucesome2000

macrumors 6502
Dec 10, 2014
338
320
Nashville, TN
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.
 

Chrjy

macrumors 65816
May 19, 2010
1,095
2,097
UK
Be a bit weird if they did....I wonder what it would be called and how you'd relate to it in conversation:

"So, what car do you drive?"
"A Beemer, you?"
"Uurr an Apple"
 
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GrumpyMom

macrumors G4
Sep 11, 2014
11,218
17,430
What a picture. You really have such bad roads in the USA?
Where we have bad winters, yes, temporarily it can get that bad because the road salt wreaks havoc as well as the freezing weather itself. But our state and local governments usually try to stay on top of it. The problem is our roads are so congested they have to also take traffic patterns into account. That can slow repairs down a bit. But no, most states don't generally leave our roads like that. At least not where I live. Anyway that's to answer your general question about road maintenance in the U.S. I can see others have already told you that the road pictured is not for public use

I hope they are working on a self driving car. The drivers around here are horrible. There are infirm elderly who should have given up driving. There are idiots my age and younger looking at their phones and not the road. And I have a hard time staying awake on the winding country roads even if I've gotten plenty of sleep. They just relax me too much. I'd love a self-driving car...but I'm not sure I would trust it. What the heck do you do if it glitches?
 
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aaronsullivan

macrumors regular
Oct 27, 2003
158
29
Rochester, NY
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.
You have really good points, but here's where I think they could step in and make a market for themselves:
The gold apple watch of cars. Profit margins are higher, the tech and experience clearly better than what goes into expensive cars. Tesla has a problem in that it doesn't quite feel as it should at the price (notice review comments on interior detailing for instance) while it's a geek dream vehicle in other ways. I think Apple can tackle it all at once. Remember, Jony Ives will want to have this thing drive him around.

Or maybe they are going to leverage something else. Maybe its meant to be just as good a manual drive as it is a automated one, or some other differentiating feature that Apple feels they can contribute to. Not sure.
I just don't see the options quite as narrow as you are seeing it.

All that said, I think I ultimately agree with you on what should happen first. The dashboard experience and integration with personal devices is still in a state of disarray and the way cars are going you don't want that to continue.
 

trip1ex

macrumors 68030
Jan 10, 2008
2,632
1,098
The other reason for a self driving car is to save money street mapping the world. You could have a fleet of self driving cars do it instead.

That the article says 2020 to launch this is a total laugh.
 

Zelmung

macrumors member
Sep 24, 2014
73
132
Vancouver
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.

That’s exactly what people said about the music and the cellphone business before Apple went in and changed everything. The company has a knack for turning low margin industries into profit cows and disrupting the whole ecosystem. The auto market is the perfect field for Apple if you think about it.
 
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