Apple's Project Titan Is Getting Closer To Reality - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
IT Life
News
8/16/2015
10:05 AM
50%
50%

Apple's Project Titan Is Getting Closer To Reality

A newly published report in the Guardian suggests that not only is Apple planning a self-driving car, but that the so-called Project Titan prototype is ready for testing.

New York Auto Show: Cool Cars With Hot Tech
New York Auto Show: Cool Cars With Hot Tech
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Documents revealed by British newspaper The Guardian indicate the long-rumored self-driving car program by Apple, codenamed Project Titan, is indeed a reality.

The Guardian report shows Apple's interest in GoMentum Station, a 5,000-acre, former Navy weapons station in California, which features 20 miles of paved roadway. Other companies have used the location for testing, validation, and commercialization of connected vehicle (CV) applications and autonomous vehicles (AV) technologies.

"We would ... like to get an understanding of timing and availability for the space, and how we would need to coordinate around other parties who would be using [it]," Frank Fearon, an Apple engineer, wrote in the document obtained by The Guardian. "We are hoping to see a presentation on the ... testing grounds with a layout, photos, and a description of how the various areas of the grounds could be used."

Jack Hall, program manager for autonomous vehicles at GoMentum Station, wrote to Fearson in May saying a tour of the facility would have to be postponed, but that the company was "working to keep everything moving and to meet your testing schedule," which The Guardian understood to mean Apple has a prototype ready for the road.

(Image: Jason Doiy/iStockphoto)

(Image: Jason Doiy/iStockphoto)

Apple declined to comment on the report when reached by The Guardian. Randy Iwasaki, executive director of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA), owner of GoMentum Station, could offer little more information.

"We had to sign a non-disclosure agreement with Apple," Iwasaki told The Guardian. "We can't tell you anything other than they've come in and they're interested."

Titan still hasn't been officially acknowledged by Apple, despite reports that Apple has hired hundreds of new employees to explore the venture. In July, Doug Betts, a former global quality executive at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, reportedly joined Apple. The company has even reportedly reached out to workers at Tesla, Elon Musk's electric car company.

In partnership with the CCTA, automobile manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz and Honda have tested and validated AV technology at the Concord Naval Weapons Station (CNWS) Test facility in Contra Costa.

In July, CCTA announced Honda researchers are using the facility to test automated driving technologies using modified versions of its luxury brand Acura's RLX sedan. New prototype sensors and cameras have been added to the vehicle.

[ Autonomous vehicles involve trial and error. Read about Google's problems with self-driving cars. ]

Those sensors were tested alongside an extensive array of forward, reverse, and corner sensors that enable a suite of AcuraWatch safety and driver-assistive technologies on the production-model RLX.

According to a report published in July by Transparency Market Research, 64.4 million on-road electric vehicles will be sold globally by 2019, with revenue expected to top $271 billion in the same period.

While Apple would certainly have plenty of competition -- Nissan, General Motors, Tesla, Honda, and Toyota all have AV projects in the works -- one well-known player said he welcomes the challenge.

"I certainly hope Apple gets into the car business," Tesla's Musk reportedly said on a company earnings call in May. "That would be great."

Nathan Eddy is a freelance writer for InformationWeek. He has written for Popular Mechanics, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, FierceMarkets, and CRN, among others. In 2012 he made his first documentary film, The Absent Column. He currently lives in Berlin. View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
natee3287127
100%
0%
natee3287127,
User Rank: Strategist
8/16/2015 | 11:44:38 AM
Re: an Icar on the way.
one would hope they wouldn't change the charging port every second model, too :P 
PedroGonzales
50%
50%
PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
8/16/2015 | 11:42:52 AM
an Icar on the way.
It is very interesting that many companies are joining the AV bandwagon.  This means that there will be a lot of different AV solutions on the market.  I would like to know if there is a demand for such cars.  I remember there was a huge hype for electric cars.  But, in the end, hybrids are becoming popular.  I would like to see whether people would line up to buy an Icar.      
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Digital Transformation Myths & Truths
Transformation is on every IT organization's to-do list, but effectively transforming IT means a major shift in technology as well as business models and culture. In this IT Trend Report, we examine some of the misconceptions of digital transformation and look at steps you can take to succeed technically and culturally.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll