Apple working on systems for 'high-end cars' at California 'auto testing center'

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited February 2016
A year and a half ago, Apple received approval to build an "auto testing center" in the town of Sunnyvale, Calif., and the city manager's office even highlighted the project in a biweekly blog, though no one seemed to notice at the time [updated].




While Apple is known to go to great lengths to keep its projects secret, Sunnyvale officials apparently did not share those same concerns over privacy back in 2014, when the city manager's blog was updated to feature two projects of interest from Apple itself.
"The building will be used as a testing facility for new electronic technologies that are integrated into high-end cars," the Sunnyvale city manager's office said about an Apple permit approved in 2014.
Update: A representative from the city of Sunnyvale contacted AppleInsider clarify that the city manager did not actually "handpick" the items featured the June 2014 blog post. This story has been updated to reflect that.

On the topic of community development, the top two projects singled out by the manager's office were both Apple-related. One touted the fact that Apple was moving into an office space previously occupied by Maxim Integrated.

Sunnyvale officials also noted that Apple was awarded a building permit for another, nearby facility with 9,600 square feet of office space.

"The building will be used as a testing facility for new electronic technologies that are integrated into high-end cars," the office explained.

Further details are available in public records viewed by AppleInsider, where it's revealed Apple received permits to build an "auto testing center" on the property the very next month, in July of 2014. Other additions at the building include a lobby, conference room and break room.

Apple's "auto testing center" could simply be related to CarPlay, its vehicle infotainment platform that was officially announced earlier in 2014. But the company is also rumored to be working on its own electric car, and details of an automotive-related "testing facility" for "high-end" car technology will no doubt fuel speculation that the building could be related to "Project Titan."




In fact, the building highlighted by the Sunnyvale city manager's office is located just a few blocks from a building AppleInsider's own sources have claimed is ground zero for Apple's rumored automotive project. Last year, it was said that the bulk of development had emanated from a building known internally as "SG5," located at the nearby Sunnyvale campus occupied by Apple.

Evidence suggests Apple hid behind a shell corporation dubbed SixtyEight Research at that location. A company identified as "SixtyEight LLC" imported a 1957 Fiat Multiplay 600 into the U.S. in November of 2014, and SixtyEight Research was also listed as an attendee of the EuroCarbody 2015 Global Car Body Benchmarking Conference in November of 2015.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    I'm surprised that Apple keeps leasing buildings for "secret" auto projects when they've got the best one already in construction. Who needs a test track when you have an UNDERGROUND LOOP built entirely under your foundation out of prying eyes?
  • Reply 2 of 19
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,466member
    I'm surprised that Apple keeps leasing buildings for "secret" auto projects when they've got the best one already in construction. Who needs a test track when you have an UNDERGROUND LOOP built entirely under your foundation out of prying eyes?
    You're outnumbered by 60 other posters who think Apple is resting on their lauels, sitting on their cash hoard, not innovating fast enough since Steve left the building, and . . . you can fill in the rest
    fotoformatlostkiwi
  • Reply 3 of 19
    shogunshogun Posts: 360member
    I can't get enough of the car rumors. Looking at those pics I wonder if the car will have a front grille? There's no reason for one on an electric. So much of what we conceptualize as "car" has come into being because of gas-car necessities. Large front hood. Pipes, oil, gears, grease. Exhaust. It'll be interesting to see what a true rethink looks like. That said, I almost think the first car will be pretty traditional. Once they have all the tech worked out they can evolve as quickly as necessary.
    palominelolliverlostkiwicornchip
  • Reply 4 of 19
    They'll have to drive it outside eventually..not sure how you can develop and properly test a car exclusively indoors..
  • Reply 5 of 19
    They'll have to drive it outside eventually..not sure how you can develop and properly test a car exclusively indoors..
    Then you never heard of Dr. Emmett Brown.
    nolamacguy
  • Reply 6 of 19
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,262member

    Well we will all have to wait and see, however, I think the Sunnyvale comment is probably closer to the truth. Apple is probable working on an electronic system for cars, to simplify the user interface so drivers are not distracted with all the control systems they need to deal with. If apple solve this problem then I can see people wanting their solution. Today cars are too complicated, they are cars not entertainment systems.

    lostkiwi
  • Reply 7 of 19
    maestro64 said:

    Well we will all have to wait and see, however, I think the Sunnyvale comment is probably closer to the truth. Apple is probable working on an electronic system for cars, to simplify the user interface so drivers are not distracted with all the control systems they need to deal with. If apple solve this problem then I can see people wanting their solution. Today cars are too complicated, they are cars not entertainment systems.

    What auto makers are going to want a system from Apple if they know that system might also be in a competitors car? I doubt auto makers want to become Windows or Android OEMs. And how do you work on an electric system for cars without being deeply involved in the actual building of the vehicle? Unless they're just working on a better infotainment system. But I doubt that requires a team of 1,000 engineers.
    lolliver
  • Reply 8 of 19
    What apps would make sense for a car? What if apps could change your ride (sport, luxury), or increase performance? What if apps could get you there faster in a self-driving car, by letting you buy your way to the front of the line? Again self-driving, imagine an app that went and picked up your groceries, or which dropped off and picked up your dry cleaning at 10% off. This could be really something -- especially if Apple gets %30.
  • Reply 9 of 19
    I'm surprised that Apple keeps leasing buildings for "secret" auto projects when they've got the best one already in construction. Who needs a test track when you have an UNDERGROUND LOOP built entirely under your foundation out of prying eyes?
    The building reminds me of Star Labs in The Flash TV series.
  • Reply 10 of 19
    The Fiat model name is Multipla not Multiplay 
  • Reply 11 of 19
    They'll have to drive it outside eventually..not sure how you can develop and properly test a car exclusively indoors..
    Then you never heard of Dr. Emmett Brown.
    Even Doc Brown took the car outdoors eventually for the true test. He risked his dog's safety in a shady mall parking lot, remember?
  • Reply 12 of 19
    shogun said:
    I can't get enough of the car rumors. Looking at those pics I wonder if the car will have a front grille? There's no reason for one on an electric. So much of what we conceptualize as "car" has come into being because of gas-car necessities. Large front hood. Pipes, oil, gears, grease. Exhaust. It'll be interesting to see what a true rethink looks like. That said, I almost think the first car will be pretty traditional. Once they have all the tech worked out they can evolve as quickly as necessary.
    A grille -- or some type of equivalent in a future vehicle -- is a fundamental part of a car's identity, and serves a function that is perhaps more aesthetic than just an engineering function today. 

    It'll probably be as important as the Apple logo. 
    edited February 2016 cornchip
  • Reply 13 of 19
    shogun said:
    I can't get enough of the car rumors. Looking at those pics I wonder if the car will have a front grille? There's no reason for one on an electric. So much of what we conceptualize as "car" has come into being because of gas-car necessities. Large front hood. Pipes, oil, gears, grease. Exhaust. It'll be interesting to see what a true rethink looks like. That said, I almost think the first car will be pretty traditional. Once they have all the tech worked out they can evolve as quickly as necessary.
    You mean like this?

    http://www.google.com/selfdrivingcar/images/home-where.jpg
  • Reply 14 of 19
    Then you never heard of Dr. Emmett Brown.
    Even Doc Brown took the car outdoors eventually for the true test. He risked his dog's safety in a shady mall parking lot, remember?
    Ah, but he didn't have 200 billion lying around. Apple can build a city outdoors to test this!!
  • Reply 15 of 19
    larryalarrya Posts: 515member





    LOL - is that a "high end" Camry?
    cornchip
  • Reply 16 of 19
    cjdd said:
    The Fiat model name is Multipla not Multiplay 
    Damn you, Autocorrect!
  • Reply 17 of 19
    They'll have to drive it outside eventually..not sure how you can develop and properly test a car exclusively indoors..
    They will and it will be covered in camo
  • Reply 18 of 19
    Although Apple is capable of building a car I believe there designing the front end software and hardware that companies can incorporate into their own cars. By providing Apple designed Hardware & software to auto manufactures they can offer MBA (Made by Apple) as an Upgrade. The race for tech companies to supply the "new auto tech" to car manufactures started a long time ago. Right now we see Apple CarPay and Android audio offerings. Sony, Bose along with many others have targeted the Auto sound system. The Car's IQ is now rated right along with the size to the engine or motors if you're running a battery powered car. The Tesla S has the most insane in-car touchscreen multimedia system ever made. It's a Massive 17-inch touchscreen. Most Tesla owners think of it as a large iPad. So by now you must know where I'm going with this. Apple sells computer tech to the billions of Tech loving public, so why not offer there know-how to car manufacture and let them sell it. My next care will have CarPlay. Its now Available on select cars, CarPlay is a smarter, safer way to use your iPhone in the car so if you're an iPhone use then it's going to be a no brainer to get this option. Maybe in a few years my next car will come with an MBA Auto-Drive system! I really hope I'm right - don't you!
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