Driverless cars have been a trending topic as of late. Many companies have been extremely transparent about their plans to launch driverless cars, and have even publicized testing initiatives.
While Apple has confirmed their plans in the past, those plans have been shrouded in secrecy and rumor.
Take, for example, Apple’s “Project Titan,” — an ultra-secret driverless car plan that has been the subject of much speculation.
The Guardian, however, recently obtained public records that revealed Apple’s driverless car plans are indeed underway, as the company has set its sights on various testing locations across the country.
According to The Verge, the report states that Apple engineers convened with GoMentum, the former San Francisco naval base, to discuss plans with representatives.
The former naval base is considered a major testing station for autonomous vehicles like the driverless Apple car, and it’s likely because the 5,000 acre Gomentum Station is chock full of empty roads, tunnels, and highways, making it an ideal space for Apple to test its new vehicle.
In fact, companies such a Honda and Acura are already testing their own driverless cars at Gomentum station.
In the report, The Guardian obtained emails between Gomentum and Frank Fearon, an Apple engineer. In one email, he asks for the station to be understanding and patient when it comes to timing and availability regarding the space.
To further investigate, The Guardian interviewed Randy Iwasaki, who is the executive director of Contra Costa’s transportation authority. Upon questioning, he was hesitant to reveal too much of the company’s plans with Apple.
“We had to sign a non-disclosure agreement with Apple,” Iwasaki said. “We can’t tell you anything other than they’ve come in and they’re interested.”
Apple’s “Project Titan” is not the only driverless car prototype making headlines. In fact, Google has received a great deal of press in the last year about its driverless car prototype. To test the car, Google has been driving around roads all over the country, and has just added a new test site in Texas.
So what’s the hype about driverless cars? A great part of their appeal may be the futuristic idealism associated with such lofty technology.
But a big part of it involves safety. As of last year, there were over 200 million licensed drivers in the United States. With so many auto accidents attributed to human error, releasing driverless cars could mean a vast improvement in on the road safety.
So will Apple’s driverless car live up to the hype? Only time will tell.