Apple has been looking for a secure location to test-drive an autonomous car, and the company may have found a perfect match, according to an exclusive report from the Guardian. The news confirms what has long been rumored but never proved through paper trail, that the tech company is developing a driverless car.
The Guardian learned, through documents acquired through public records requests, that Apple has had its eye on GoMentum Station, a former military base that spans 2,100 acres outside San Francisco. The area is highly secure and has 20 miles of paved highways and city streets. It's closed to the public and guarded by the military, making it perfect for the notoriously secretive Apple to conduct testing of a robot car.
"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, Apple engineer Frank Fearon wrote in correspondence with the facility, according to the Guardian.
Apple isn't the only tech company developing autonomous cars, and it's not the only one looking into the GoMentum station as a testing ground, either. Aside from Apple's car, which is code-named Project Titan, Google, Tesla, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen, among others, have been developing driverless cars. Those companies have been issued permits from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to test the vehicles on public roads, but it has been pointed out that to obtain those permits a company has to disclose technical and commercial details, which Apple may not be comfortable doing.
The GoMentum facility is the old Concord Naval Weapons Station established during World War II, no longer in military service. In addition to the news that Apple is officially developing the vehicle, the Guardian also learned that the tech giant has opened up a discreet location in California, just miles away from its Cupertino headquarters, to develop this technology.