The long-rumored Apple Car might be hitting the road soon—just don’t expect to see it cruising around your neighborhood.
Apple has reportedly built an electric, self-driving car that’s “almost ready for the road,” according to the Guardian, and it’s currently looking for a secure site in the San Francisco Bay Area to test the vehicle.
Documents obtained by the Guardian under the US Freedom of Information Act reveal Apple engineers in May met with officials of a high-security test site for autonomous vehicles. GoMentum Station in Concord, California, was formerly a 2,100-acre naval base with 20 miles of paved highways and city streets, providing real-road conditions, such as railway crossings and tunnels, to trial driverless cars.
Rumors of Project Titan, Apple’s autonomous electric-car project, picked up steam this year after a mysterious van equipped with an elaborate camera array on its roof was spotted in the Bay Area (it was leased by Apple). Adding fuel to the speculation, Apple has been poaching engineers from the automotive industry, including Tesla.
Located about 60 miles northeast of Apple’s Cupertino headquarters, GoMentum is guarded by the military and surrounded by barbed-wire fencing. Google, Tesla, and Honda representatives have also visited GoMentum about testing their autonomous cars there, but so far only Honda has signed a contract to do so.
California’s Department of Motor Vehicles has issued permits to six companies, including Google and Tesla, to test autonomous cars on public roads. Apple is not one of them, and it has thus far kept Project Titan closely under wraps.
Randy Iwasaki, director of the Contra Costa Transportation, which owns GoMentum, told the Guardian he couldn’t provide further details because “we had to sign a non-disclosure agreement with Apple.”