Apple Is Actually Working on a Self-Driving Car

Rumors about how Apple was thinking of hopping on the self-driving car trend and even building their own vehicle started sometimes back in February 2014.

It’s 2017, and we now know for sure that Apple is actually working on technology to develop automated driving. Keep reading this article to find out more about Apple’s secret project.

Where, How, What?

Back in 2015, speculators only knew that Apple was working on a project called “Titan” which started a debate regarding what the project might be about.

The documents obtained by The Guardian have shown the that Project Titan is in a more advanced development stage than people suspected it to be.

The self-driving car was supposedly going to be electric, which was acknowledged as being a huge plus for them – and good for the environment as well.

Apple chose to build their self-driving vehicle in Silicon Valley. At the moment when the document was obtained by The Guardian (middle of August), the company was searching for locations where they could test the car.

Things Are Moving forward for Apple

For the car’s testing purposes, engineers from Apple met with officials from the GoMentum Station back in May 2015.

GoMentum Station is a 2,100 acres high-security testing ground for autonomous cars near San Francisco.

There are 20 miles of paved highways there, including city streets as well. The area is guarded by the military and it’s not open to the public.

Officials say that this base is “the largest secure test facility in the world” with the purpose of testing software for connected cars and self-driving cars.

In these documents, Frank Fearon, Apple engineer, said that the company was interested in finding out when the area would be available for testing. Apple decided not to make any comments about this.

Jeff Williams, Apple’s Chief Operating Officer, described the self-driving car as “the ultimate mobile device”.

And even though he did not give any specific details at the moment this article was written, he said that they are exploring different markets in which they believe they could make a difference.

He did not say much, but he said enough to give us an idea of what they might be working on, while still keeping everything as mysterious as possible.

The Biggest Companies in the World Are Interesting in Self-Driving Car Tech

If we think about it, Apple’s interest in the automated car market is something we should have expected, even though they did not make such a big deal out of it.

Google and Uber have been working on their autonomous vehicles for a while now and it only seemed natural that Apple would do the same.

Vehicle manufacturers like Tesla, Google or Mercedes that have been issued permits to test their self-driving cars on the public roads had to disclose technical and commercial information in order to get the approval.

Apple will obviously have no interest in doing that. The company also signed a non-disclosure agreement with GoMentum Station.

It seems that Apple really likes their privacy.

However, it looks like the company’s secret car plans are evolving.

  • Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, has been seen meeting with representatives from the automotive industry, such as experts from Mercedes-Benz.
  • Apple has hired hundreds of engineers from Mercedes and Tesla and automotive experts from Silicon Valley.
  • The former head of BlackBerry’s automotive software joined Apple’s Project Titan.
  • Bob Mansfield, Apple’s former hardware boss, took his job back in 2016. He reorganized the entire Titan organization into three main segments: one focused on self-driving sensors, one targeting the hardware of the car and one focused on the software. Not surprisingly, many see this as being proof that Apple is working on an autonomous car.

  • Anxiously Waiting for Apple’s Self-Driving Car

    While everyone else is bragging about what they’ve managed to accomplish so far in terms of the development of their self-driving car, Apple is the only company that has not made any official statement yet.

    They’re working quietly on this project and there’s still a lot we don’t  know about it yet.

    We should probably hope that all this secrecy will be worth it and that everyone’s minds will be blown once Apple makes the official release.

    It’s been rumored that Apple is planning to release a version of their self-driving car as soon as 2020. But we’ll just have to wait and see as far as design and functionality go.

    Do you think it’s a good move on Apple’s behalf to keep all of this extremely secretive?

    Disclaimer: This article was first published in 2015. Information was updated to keep you informed of the latest developments. 

Philipp Kandal