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Apple eying a huge land purchase to test self-driving car tech

May 6th, 2016 at 7:05 AM
Apple Car

Though Apple’s plan to develop and release an electric car has reportedly hit a few speed bumps over the past few months, the company seemingly has no intention of slowing down its car-oriented R&D anytime soon. According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, Apple is currently eyeing an 800,000 square foot property in Silicon Valley as a testing ground for autonomous driving technologies it’s working on.

News of Apple’s interest in acquiring such a large parcel of land was sourced from Victor Coleman, the CEO of Hudson Pacific Properties Inc. For those unfamiliar, Hudson Pacific Properties a few years ago began buying up a ton of real estate in Silicon Valley, and today, the company commands an impressive inventory of real estate listings in the area. In any event, Coleman during a recent earnings conference call said that a number of big name companies – from Toyota to Google to Apple – have increasingly been eyeing large swaths of real estate across the entire Silicon Valley area.

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“We are seeing a definitive movement in the autonomous car from named companies and non-named companies,” Coleman said. “So we’re seeing the Toyotas of the world, the Teslas of the world, BMWs, Mercedes, Ford now is out in the marketplace looking for space. And so the name brand automobile guys for R&D and IP are looking for space in and around that area. And it seems to be a hot demand item…”

“That being said,” Coleman continued, “what we’re also seeing is, we have tenants that are looking at expanding – they are not named tenants that you would [recognize] — the core brand names like Toyotas… We’re looking at right now two of those companies that are name related. And I haven’t even mentioned the 400,000 feet that Google is looking to take down and the 800,000 feet that Apple’s looking to take down for their autonomous cars as well.”

And so the plot surrounding Apple’s mythical electric car plan thickens.

One additional point of interest relayed by the Journal is that Apple “is in the process of expanding a [car] team that had about 600 employees last year…”

As to the Apple Car development roadblocks we mentioned above, you might remember that the head of Apple’s electric car project – Steve Zadesky – recently announced his plans to leave the company due to undisclosed personal reasons. What’s more, Jony Ive this past January was reportedly none too thrilled with the progress that Apple’s car team had been making.

A life long Mac user and Apple enthusiast, Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 6 years. His writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and most recently, TUAW. When not writing about and analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions, the most recent examples being The Walking Dead and Broad City.

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