With rumors having it that Apple might enter the auto field, the British newspaper the Guardian reported that the tech company had made inquiries into using a Bay Area navy base for car testing.
The newspaper said that engineers from Apple’s Special Project group met in May with officials from the GoMentum Station, which is a 5,000 acre facility close to Concord, a town in Northern California, and which has been turned into a testing ground for self-driving cars and connected auto technologies.
GoMentum Station is a former naval weapons station that features at the moment 20 miles of paved highways and city streets including overpasses, tunnels and railroad crossings. With another 7,600 acres still being used as a shipping terminal by the U.S. Army, the facility is guarded by the military, which makes GoMentum Station the largest secure test facility in the world for testing, approving and commercializing connected vehicles applications and autonomous vehicles technologies.
Jack Hall, program manager at the GoMentum Station explained that “It’s got the infrastructure of a city. There are buildings, streets and intersections, but no people.” Honda has already used the facility for testing automated car systems in its Acura RLX, and Mercedes-Benz has reportedly had some self-driving car experiments at the same place. Randy Iwasaki, executive director of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority which operates the GoMentum station has stated for The Guardian that the facility had to sign a non-disclosure agreement with Apple and he cannot give more information besides the fact that the company has come and that they are interested. Hall added that Apple has shown interest in the facility but that the tech company has not reached an agreement for testing there so far and that its representatives have not visited the GoMentum Station up to this point. Apple refused to comment on this information.
By Gabriela Florea