Beep-beep! Can you see what’s coming? No, it’s not a fleet of self-driving trucks streaming across Europe, or useless UK Chancellor George Osborne’s doomed plan to make the UK a center of excellence in smart car design: Make way for the mighty Apple Car…
To be honest Apple Car seems a certainty now – the company recently filed papers with the city of Sunnyvale in which it admitted itself to be testing systems for "high-end cars". It is possible Apple is developing smart car technologies to license to auto manufacturers and there’s no real guarantee Apple will ever ship this thing, but the latest report from Silicon Valley Business Journal suggests plans are advanced, and potentially world-changing.
“Apple and its contractors have been building out a network of industrial projects throughout the South Bay, giving them intriguing monikers largely drawn from Greek mythology and filling them with heavy-duty equipment, including gear with potential automotive applications,” the report begins.
Now we think we know Apple calls its car project, ‘Project Titan’. Now we have a few building names that seem to offer glimpses of what its car will be. What follows are the names as reported, their meanings and what the reports claim are inside.
Buildings, meanings, purpose
Building code-name Rhea
The mother of Zeus, this building hosts a garage and apparently includes things like a "lube bay," "wheel balancer," "tire changer," and wheel sensor." This is also the building to which SixtyEight Research claims as HQ. This appears to be the location in which the Apple Car’s physical design is being developed.
Building code-name Zeus
Zeus is a 290,000-square foot facility in which the Journal claims just 15 employees are thought to work. Given Zeus’ position as ruler of the gods I’d hazard a guess this is where the AI is being developed.
Building code-name Athena
The goddess of wisdom and victory, Athena is a former chip fabrication facility for Maxim Semiconductor. It’s easy to imagine this is the development location for the A-series chip development teams.
Building code-name Medusa
Medusa was a Gorgon, a winged and hideous female whose gaze would turn you into stone. It’s not especially hard to imagine Apple developing biometric authentication, security and gesture controls here, particularly since the Journal claims the lab includes eye tracking and vision labs.
Building code-name Pegasus
A horse with wings, Apple has demolished the interior of this building and intends creating testing and mechanical rooms inside, one report explains.
Building code-name Magnolia
There’s always an exception and Magnolia appears to be the one, given this is not named after a deity. Magnolia does appear to be working on pollution reduction systems for manufacturing, suggesting the company intends ensuring whatever vehicles it does build don’t’ wreck the planet.
A little more
There are two other code-names mentioned in the report: Corvinus and Aria. It is unclear what these buildings are for, but it is interesting to note that Corvinus is legendarily among the last of the immortals locked in combat with the remains of the vampires, while Aria is an HTML spec for accessible websites.
What do we think we know?
We know smart cars will eventually be connected, autonomous and environmentally friendly. These latest claims concerning Apple suggest the vehicle will use custom A-series silicon, offer Siri voice and gesture control, will be green, equipped with AI and will be accessible straight out the box, meaning people of disability will be able to safely move from A-toB. We also know (because Apple CEO, Tim Cook told us) that “it’s going to be Christmas Eve for a while,” with regard to the company’s smart car plans.
We already know to expect the first “self-driving in traffic jams” cars on roads next year, with truly autonomous vehicles before the end of the decade.
By 2024, Analysys Mason expects 89% of new cars will include embedded connectivity. However, the one flaw in the plan is the FBI’s foolish insistence on breaking encryption – this will place every connected vehicle at great risk as criminal hackers exploit back doors to cause chaos on the roads.
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