Apple stays quiet about it, but the company is clearly developing a self-driving car. And this week the world was given a glimpse inside this project, showing that it’s much larger than many had previously thought.
The FBI arrested a former employee on Apple’s autonomous car design team for allegedly downloading proprietary information and attempting take it to a rival car company in China. The resulting documentation reveals the number of employees on the project.
Instead, a new report claims that an image on Google Earth depicts a former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles facility in Arizona that Apple may be using to test autonomous vehicles. A satellite image shows a “proving ground” with urban street configurations, such as crosswalks and intersections, which would be necessary for putting a self-driving vehicle through its paces.
The Apple Car has its share of skeptics, but there’s at least one person who believes it is coming, and he should know: Tesla founder Elon Musk says it’s an “open secret” that Cupertino is working to become Coupe-rtino. Get it?
If Apple really is working on a car, what would it look like? And what would we want it to look like and do?
The growing chorus of rumors about Apple’s possible automotive ambitions — and the hard facts about the car designers it’s already recruited — don’t prove Cupertino is working on a car. But if Apple is staffing up to transform the transportation industry, what features might it deliver in its human-transport device?
Here’s what we’d like to see in the very first iCar.