Following months of continuous rumors, it now appears as though Apple may be testing a self-driving car in secret. According to The Guardian’s Mark Harris, the company has been scouting out private facilities where its autonomous vehicle could run through a battery of tests.
Engineers from Apple’s Special Projects group reportedly met with officials from GoMentum station, a testing ground near San Francisco. That former military ground offers high-end security that would allow the company to test an Apple self-driving vehicle without public prying. GoMentum has been used for the testing of self-driving vehicles from Honda and Mercedes-Benz. The facility is protected by armed guards, making it a very security testing facility.
In obtained documents 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].”
Randy Iwasaki, executive director of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority says GoMentum has signed a non-disclosure agreement with Apple. “We can’t tell you anything other than they’ve come in and they’re interested,” Iwasaki said to The Guardian.
While there have been numerous rumors about an Apple self-driving vehicle, this appears to be the first proof that the company is already nearing a testing stage.
Apple has a lot of work ahead of itself. Google has been testing autonomous vehicles for years and other competitors including Uber, are also working on self-driving automobiles.