Haute 100 SF: Tim Cook Says Apple’s Self-Driving Car Ready for Testing

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Tim Cook

According to documents obtained by The Guardian, Apple’s autonomous vehicle named Project Titan is well on its way.

The documents revealed, earlier this spring engineers from Apple’s secretive Special Projects group met with representatives from GoMentum Station, a former naval base near San Francisco that is being turned into a high-security testing ground for self-driving vehicles.

In the report, Frank Fearon, an Apple engineer, wrote, “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].”

While details of the autonomous vehicle is unknown, The Guardian believes the self-driving car is ready to be tested on the road.

The executive director from Contra Costa Transportation Authority, which owns and operates GoMentum Station, revealed the company has signed a non-disclosure agreement with the Apple. Though the transportation company is legally bound to secrecy, the executive did state, “We can’t tell you anything other than they’ve come in and they’re interested.”

The documents also disclose Apple has been recruiting engineers from Tesla Motors, Mercedes-Benz and experts from A123 Systems, a developer and manufacturer of advanced lithium-ion batteries. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has also been reported meeting with a number of representatives from car manufactures. There were earlier reports of Cook visiting luxury carmakers BMW last year at the company’s headquarters.

GoMentum Station has been the test facility for a number of automobile manufactures looking to carry out experiments for self-driving cars including Mercedes-Benz and Honda. Honda also recently showcased a video of the Accura RLS Sedan at the station.

The facility, which is located in Concord, California, contains 20-miles of paved, city-like roadway grids, buildings, and other urban infrastructure. On its website the 2,100-acre facility states it works with a number of partners who conduct research development, testing validation and commercialization of Connected Vehicle (CV) applications and Autonomous Vehicles (AV) technologies.

In addition to Apple taking a step closer to preparing for its autonomous car, the company released a diversity report. Cook wrote, “Last year we reported the demographics of our employees for the first time externally, although we have long prioritized diversity. We promised to improve those numbers and we’re happy to report that we have made progress. In the past year we hired over 11,000 women globally, which is 65 percent more than in the previous year. In the United States, we hired more than 2,200 Black employees — a 50 percent increase over last year — and 2,700 Hispanic employees, a 66 percent increase. In total, this represents the largest group of employees we’ve ever hired from underrepresented groups in a single year. Additionally, in the first 6 months of this year, nearly 50 percent of the people we’ve hired in the United States are women, Black, Hispanic, or Native American.”

Featured photo via Apple

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