Apple is already scouting for locations to test its self-driving car, The Guardian has learned through a public records act request. According to the report, Apple engineers involved with the project met with representatives of a massive, 5,000-acre former naval base near San Francisco called GoMentum Station back in May.
GoMentum Station is owned by the Contra Costa Transportation Authority, and is a major testing ground for connected and autonomous vehicles. It's full of highway overpasses, empty roads, tunnels, and train crossings, and companies like Acura, Mercedes-Benz, and Honda already test their own self-driving cars there. So it makes sense that Apple is interested in using the facility to test its own autonomous vehicle program.
Apple could test its car in a number of scenarios at GoMentum
In one of the emails obtained, Apple engineer Frank Fearon writes to GoMentum asking for "an understanding of timing and availability for the space, and how we would need to coordinate around other parties who would be using [it]." Fearon also asked for a layout and photos of the GoMentum grounds, as well as ideas on of how the various areas of the grounds could be used.
"We had to sign a non-disclosure agreement with Apple," Randy Iwasaki, the executive director of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority told The Guardian. "We can’t tell you anything other than they’ve come in and they’re interested."
The first real rumors of an Apple car being worked on came back in February when The Wall Street Journal reported on the so-called "Project Titan." Since then, Apple has , and the company has snatched up talent from battery companies, Chrysler, and other car companies in an effort to bolster the project.