Codenames for Apple's 'Project Titan' car HQ borrow from Greek mythology: 'Rhea,' 'Athena' & 'Medus

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited April 2016
A series of buildings in Sunnyvale, Calif., are ground zero for Apple's top secret "Project Titan" electric car project, and a new report reveals the codenames of some of the company's facilities in the area, including names like "Pegasus," "Aria," "Rhea" and "Corvinus."


Construction at Apple's Sunnyvale campus, as seen last year.


AppleInsider was first to reveal that Apple's automotive efforts were based out of a series of buildings located just minutes from Apple's corporate campus. It's there that Apple hid behind what is believed to be shell corporation with the name "SixtyEight Research," which it may have used to import parts and vehicles without arousing suspicion.
'Rhea' is perhaps the most interesting building tied to 'Project Titan,' serving as the home of Apple's apparent shell corporation, 'SixtyEight Research'
Digging further into Apple's expanded California presence, the Silicon Valley Business Journal reported on Monday that many of the secretive buildings run by the company code-named after characters from Greek mythology, including the Titan Rhea, and ruler of the Olympian gods Zeus.

In classical Greek lore, Titans and Titanesses preceded the Olympians. They were the first 12 children of Mother Earth, Gaia, and Father Sky, Uranus.

"Rhea," in Sunnyvale, is perhaps the most interesting building. AppleInsider first reported in 2015 that the facility, known by street number "175," added a "repair garage" through improvements installed by Apple. According to city documents uncovered by the Journal, the building also includes a "lube bay," "wheel balancer," "tire changer," and wheel sensor."

"Rhea" is also where SixtyEight Research claimed to be headquartered. A company by the name of "SixtyEight LLC" imported a 1957 Fiat Multiplay 600 into the U.S. in November of 2014, and SixtyEight Research was listed as an attendee at the EuroCarbody 2015 Global Car Body Benchmarking Conference in November of 2015.




Not all of the buildings located in Sunnyvale are likely to be used for "Project Titan." For example, one AppleInsider source with knowledge of the company's structure previously revealed that much of the App Store review team works out of Sunnyvale, and is one of the primary occupants of Apple's largest Sunnyvale building cluster.

Meanwhile, in San Jose, the building code-named "Zeus" might suggest that it plays an important role at Apple. But exactly what is in the works at the 290,000-square-foot facility remains something of a mystery. Documents uncovered by the Journal reveal that an "interim lab" sized 25,000 feet will be located there, where just 15 employees will work.

Another building, said to be known as "Athena," is a former chip fabrication facility for Maxim Semiconductor. Given its past use, it's possible that Apple uses the facility to build custom silicon, like the A-series chips that power the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV.

Finally, Apple's building codenamed "Medusa" appears to host a number of interesting research projects, including a room dedicated to "eye tracking," a "vision lab," and another location for "cog. testing," potentially referring to cognition. The variety of projects there suggest it could be a multi-use facility related to a number of secretive Apple projects.

Paperwork filed with the city of Sunnyvale has readily admitted that Apple is testing systems for "high-end cars" at an "auto testing center." Though they help reveal the kind of work Apple is doing onsite, such permits are necessary for the kinds of building improvements Apple has invested in.




AppleInsider also discovered in February that a resident who lives near Apple's auto testing center filed a complaint with the city about late-night "motor noises" emanating from the facility.

"(Do) there have to (be) motor noises at 11:00 p.m. at night like last night?" the resident wrote to the city of Sunnyvale. "Even with the windows closed I could still hear it."
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 32
    why-why- Posts: 305member
    maybe they're not building a car at all. maybe they're making some sort of high tech engine
  • Reply 2 of 32

    Very curious about Apple's go to market strategy.  Will they target only electric vehicles or combustion as well?
    Every car maker supports CarPlay as an optional non-intrusive feature with advanced SIRI technologies.
    Apple may try to replace QNX with iOS and offer object oriented methods for differentiation, but how much revenue will that bring?
    Apple can partner with other car makers to offer Apple co-branded cars, but again, how much revenue?

    Apple will ultimately need to build it's own vehicles and parts.  Including smart carts and cars initially and eventually airplanes and spaceships.
    Apple Maps will need advanced accurate and dynamic navigation methods.

    Should Apple buy Tesla and/or Space X to speed things up?





  • Reply 3 of 32
    jakebjakeb Posts: 557member
    Do electric engines even make noise? Seems crazy for Apple to get into the combustion engine business. Maybe they're testing the self-driving system in pre-existing high end cars while a different team is working on the physical car itself? No idea.
    cali
  • Reply 4 of 32
    staticx57staticx57 Posts: 398member
    jakeb said:
    Do electric engines even make noise? Seems crazy for Apple to get into the combustion engine business. Maybe they're testing the self-driving system in pre-existing high end cars while a different team is working on the physical car itself? No idea.
    Of course they make noise, just nowhere near the level ICEs make.
  • Reply 5 of 32
    brakkenbrakken Posts: 677member
    So, the Medusa will look like an Aztec, right?
  • Reply 6 of 32
    why-why- Posts: 305member
    jakeb said:
    Do electric engines even make noise? Seems crazy for Apple to get into the combustion engine business. Maybe they're testing the self-driving system in pre-existing high end cars while a different team is working on the physical car itself? No idea.

    well all electric engine don't, no. but for example the Chevrolet volt actually has a an ICE driving a generator that powers the electric motor
  • Reply 7 of 32
    For a project codenamed "Titan" they sure are dropping the ball on their titan nomenclature.
    singularity
  • Reply 8 of 32
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member
    Can you imagine what the keynote presentation is going to be like for the Apple Car?

    It's going to be totally off the charts insane! iPhone events aren't really that exciting, because so much is leaked beforehand. An Apple Car reveal is going to be off the hook, because surely Apple will be able to keep the details around that a secret at least. The names of a few buildings isn't going to tell anybody what the actual design of the car will end up looking like, and there might not even be any Asian factories involved in the car, which lessens the chances of any leaks. They're probably more than busy enough building iPhones and whatnots.

    Hell, maybe the Apple Car will be manufactured and assembled in the US for the most part? Apple has already begun assembling Mac Pros in the US, and I think that the pressure is on American companies to bring more manufacturing back to the US.

    The Apple Car is still probably a long way away, but I think that it's a good thing that Apple is trying to branch out, and why shouldn't they, as long as their core business isn't negatively impacted.

    Apple should just try to make a great car, in my opinion. I don't think that they should be going for a budget price point. They should be aiming to make a great car. What if Apple could totally reinvent the car, like they did with the phone? Hopefully you are holding a few shares of APPL should that day ever come.

    I have no idea what an eventual Apple Car would look like, and I wouldn't even try to imagine, but I just hope that it doesn't look anything close to or even has the slightest resemblance to the revolting looking Fiat mentioned in the article. 
    edited April 2016
  • Reply 9 of 32
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,000member
    staticx57 said:
    jakeb said:
    Do electric engines even make noise? Seems crazy for Apple to get into the combustion engine business. Maybe they're testing the self-driving system in pre-existing high end cars while a different team is working on the physical car itself? No idea.
    Of course they make noise, just nowhere near the level ICEs make.
    Having stood beside a couple of tesla's taking off from the lights. They really don't make much noise at all. The first sound you normally hear is tires losing traction.
  • Reply 10 of 32
    berndogberndog Posts: 79member
    How will they make it thinner?
    paxmanlito_lupenaapplesidewinder
  • Reply 11 of 32
    fracfrac Posts: 480member
    jakeb said:
    Do electric engines even make noise? Seems crazy for Apple to get into the combustion engine business. Maybe they're testing the self-driving system in pre-existing high end cars while a different team is working on the physical car itself? No idea.
    It's more likely imo that the guys in the shop are just doing engine tune-ups on their own vehicles, using Apple's shiny new equipment in their own time after hours.
    Happens in most car shops.
  • Reply 12 of 32
    irelandireland Posts: 17,547member
    Multipla, not Multiplay.
    edited April 2016
  • Reply 13 of 32
    irelandireland Posts: 17,547member
    why- said:
    maybe they're not building a car at all. maybe they're making some sort of high tech engine
    Or maybe they are building a car. You know, like Steve discussed years earlier with Fadell. It's pretty obvious. Besides, engine noises could easily mean machinery noises.
    edited April 2016
  • Reply 14 of 32
    irelandireland Posts: 17,547member

    Very curious about Apple's go to market strategy.  Will they target only electric vehicles or combustion as well?
    Which one is the future of the automobile? A toddler could answer that. Combustion car's mortality is observable.
    palomineapplesidewinderpropod
  • Reply 15 of 32
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,889member

    Very curious about Apple's go to market strategy.  

    Man, that's the understatement of the decade! 

    I think it's almost certainly electric, but it's *hard* for electric to make economic sense so long as gas prices stay low. I'm not sure exactly what "low" means in this context, but I suspect that even $4/gallon is still too low. 

    Now.... it's *hard*, but not impossible. The way for electric to make sense is to put on a *ton* of miles. The car basically needs to be running all the time in order for the fuel cost savings to cover the extra cost of the vehicle. Individually-owned cars that are only used by that individual simply don't get the miles needed. 

    What vehicles do get the miles needed? Maybe cabs in large cities like NYC, or cars owned by full time Uber drives. 

    So, I think that the go-to-market strategy has to be transportation as a service, similar to Uber. But better than Uber, because the drivers (if there are drivers) aren't murderers, and the cars are of a consistency high quality. 

    Another advantage of this approach is that Apple doesn't need showrooms or dealerships. You don't have to convince people to buy a new car -- you just have to convince them to use an app on their iPhone to call an Apple car instead of an Uber car. What fraction of people use Apple Maps instead of Google Maps? -- that's the share you can expect an Apple car to get relative to Uber. 
  • Reply 16 of 32
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,973member
    "a resident who lives near Apple's auto testing center filed a complaint with the city about late-night "motor noises" emanating from the facility."

    I am suspecting they were powering up the warp core.  Until you get the the dilithium crystal assembly and the plasma conduits just right it is prone to making a lot of noise.
  • Reply 17 of 32
    sirlance99sirlance99 Posts: 1,119member
    apple ][ said:
    Can you imagine what the keynote presentation is going to be like for the Apple Car?

    It's going to be totally off the charts insane! iPhone events aren't really that exciting, because so much is leaked beforehand. An Apple Car reveal is going to be off the hook, because surely Apple will be able to keep the details around that a secret at least. The names of a few buildings isn't going to tell anybody what the actual design of the car will end up looking like, and there might not even be any Asian factories involved in the car, which lessens the chances of any leaks. They're probably more than busy enough building iPhones and whatnots.

    Hell, maybe the Apple Car will be manufactured and assembled in the US for the most part? Apple has already begun assembling Mac Pros in the US, and I think that the pressure is on American companies to bring more manufacturing back to the US.

    The Apple Car is still probably a long way away, but I think that it's a good thing that Apple is trying to branch out, and why shouldn't they, as long as their core business isn't negatively impacted.

    Apple should just try to make a great car, in my opinion. I don't think that they should be going for a budget price point. They should be aiming to make a great car. What if Apple could totally reinvent the car, like they did with the phone? Hopefully you are holding a few shares of APPL should that day ever come.

    I have no idea what an eventual Apple Car would look like, and I wouldn't even try to imagine, but I just hope that it doesn't look anything close to or even has the slightest resemblance to the revolting looking Fiat mentioned in the article. 
    Except that, you know, Apple will eventually have to test the car in real world streets. I don't know if you pay attention to other car manufacturers releases but they always get leaked to a point with spy shots, and photos with cover graphics to distorte the body when on the streets for testing. Unless they do a concept preview first, this supposed car will have leaks of some sort. There is no way to get around all the government testing they have to do for a car.

    Plus, what is all this "totally reinventing" the car talk? Government standards force a certain way cars have to be. I'm sure it'll look great hopefully but it won't be some radical change or design never before seen or heard of. 
    edited April 2016
  • Reply 18 of 32
    buzdotsbuzdots Posts: 449member
    "a resident who lives near Apple's auto testing center filed a complaint with the city about late-night "motor noises" emanating from the facility."

    I am suspecting they were powering up the warp core.  Until you get the the dilithium crystal assembly and the plasma conduits just right it is prone to making a lot of noise.
    Probably just helping Elon out with the reverse thrust engines for Space X.  One of these days they will get it right... consistently.
  • Reply 19 of 32
    brucemcbrucemc Posts: 1,499member
    blastdoor said:

    Very curious about Apple's go to market strategy.  

    Man, that's the understatement of the decade! 

    I think it's almost certainly electric, but it's *hard* for electric to make economic sense so long as gas prices stay low. I'm not sure exactly what "low" means in this context, but I suspect that even $4/gallon is still too low. 

    Now.... it's *hard*, but not impossible. The way for electric to make sense is to put on a *ton* of miles. The car basically needs to be running all the time in order for the fuel cost savings to cover the extra cost of the vehicle. Individually-owned cars that are only used by that individual simply don't get the miles needed. 

    What vehicles do get the miles needed? Maybe cabs in large cities like NYC, or cars owned by full time Uber drives. 

    So, I think that the go-to-market strategy has to be transportation as a service, similar to Uber. But better than Uber, because the drivers (if there are drivers) aren't murderers, and the cars are of a consistency high quality. 

    Another advantage of this approach is that Apple doesn't need showrooms or dealerships. You don't have to convince people to buy a new car -- you just have to convince them to use an app on their iPhone to call an Apple car instead of an Uber car. What fraction of people use Apple Maps instead of Google Maps? -- that's the share you can expect an Apple car to get relative to Uber. 
    I understand your logic there, and those points make sense.  However, what a service like that requires (which Uber and to a lesser extent Lyft already have) is massive scale.  Out of the gates, Apple would be hard pressed as a new entrant to get to 50K cars/year rate.  It would take along time to get to the scale to effectively compete.  Uber was able to do this as they don't build any of the cars - they get those with cars to work for them.

    Apple's success in all of their other product lines is to build a product that someone wants to buy - where the buyer and the user are the same and appreciate the Apple quality/ecosystem.  That drive doesn't seem to be there for transportation as a service, and the ecosystem effects are much less.

    Maybe they will target transport as a service, as that model is disruptive, but hard to see what Apple's differentiator is there.  With the ownership model, one can see the ecosystem benefits an Apple Car could bring to an owner of an iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, etc.
    edited April 2016
  • Reply 20 of 32
    focherfocher Posts: 638member
    blastdoor said:

    Very curious about Apple's go to market strategy.  

    I think it's almost certainly electric, but it's *hard* for electric to make economic sense so long as gas prices stay low. I'm not sure exactly what "low" means in this context, but I suspect that even $4/gallon is still too low. 
    Ignoring the environmental benefits of electric versus an internal combustion engine, there's a lot more to the cost differential consideration.

    1. Gas prices inevitably will go back up
    2. Overall maintenance costs are much lower on an EV
    3. Design and manufacture of an EV - excluding the batteries - is greatly simplified
    4. Battery costs - the primary driver of any price difference - are rapidly dropping. GM let it be known that they're paying about $145/kW on the Bolt. Tesla is known to have cheaper costs and with their Giga Factory, are driving that cost down even further.
    5. Economies of scale matter in manufacturing, so as EV adoption continues to increase then this element gets lower on a per unit basis

    The fact is, a significant portion of the population wants to have their own car and whether it makes financial sense factors in very little. The ASP on a new car in the USA is about $31k/$32k. EVs are already available in that range and the list of available choices is continuing to expand.

    There's absolutely zero chance Apple introduces a combustion engine-based car.
    realjustinlong
Sign In or Register to comment.