SAN FRANCISCO (AA) – IPhone maker Apple is well on its way to developing a self-driving automobile, according to documents reviewed by U.K. newspaper The Guardian in a report published Friday, confirming years-old rumors of an Apple car.
The report claims that Apple is searching for secret locations near San Francisco to test an autonomous car. While Apple’s automobile project, which is supposedly codenamed Project Titan, has been the subject of rumour for several years, documentation gathered by The Guardian is the first primary evidence of any such experiment.
Specifically, The Guardian cites correspondence between Apple executives and the owners of GoMentum Stadium, a highly secure facility that was formerly a naval base.
Other moves by Apple have lent credence to the idea that it is working on breaking into the automobile market much like it has done with the music and telecommunications industries.
On Thursday, The Wall Street Journal published an interview with key Apple designer Marc Newson where the executive sharply criticized the modern automobile industry’s design choices. Newson remarked that automobile design is currently “at the bottom of a trough”.
In late July, a former senior executive at Chrysler, Doug Betts (who also previously worked at Nissan and Toyota), quietly noted online that he was now working for Apple. Electric car-battery maker A123 Systems filed a lawsuit earlier this year charging Apple with poaching its employees.
At a conference in May, Apple senior vice president of operations, Jeff Williams, proclaimed that “the car is the ultimate mobile device”.
Several companies are publicly working on self-driving cars, with Google receiving much of the attention. Google’s fleet of autonomous vehicles has already clocked in hundreds of thousands of miles by driving around northern California.
Ride-service company Uber is also reportedly working on a similar project, as well as entrenched automakers like Nissan. The state of California has issued permits to several companies allowing tests of self-driving vehicles.
Apple did not respond to Anadolu Agency’s request for a comment.
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