This past weekend, The Guardian learned that Apple may be testing out a self-driving vehicle in Silicon Valley. The news source initially discovered the project in May when the Cupertino-based tech giant reportedly met with GoMentum Station officers at an area that was converted from a naval base to a trial driving park with high-level security. The GoMentum Station measures 2,100 acres and was originally a facility used during World War 2 with highway overpasses, tunnels, cattle grids and railway crossings. The station’s owner and executive director of Contra Costa Transportation Authority, Randy Iwasaki, reportedly mentioned that they signed a non-disclosure agreement with Apple.
Apple said to test autonomous cars
Apple engineer Frank Fearon apparently explained in a letter to GoMentum how they would like to agree to time and availability for the space. He also wanted to coordinate testing time around companies using the same space. GoMentumStation is the largest secure testing field in the world, and it is often used for testing autonomous and connected vehicle applications. The base is closed off from the public with military guarding the area.
Apple isn’t the only company to test out cars at the GoMentumStation. Other tech companies including Google, Tesla, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen are also using the station to test out their vehicles.
Apple Car may not arrive any time soon
The new report sheds some light on a possible self-driving car from Apple and is generating a lot of anticipation. However, that does not mean we can expect Apple to unveil a car in the immediate future. The Verge’s Chris Ziegler reminds us that Apple needs to test out components and systems years before the car will be ready to go into production. He further speculates that Apple will follow Google’s route by creating its own components and sensors for other cars before it starts working on its own car. In the meantime, we can expect bureaucracies to continue to fight self-driving cars.