Apple car project reportedly underway at secret Sunnyvale campus using shell firm

Apple Car rendering 001

Apple is running its rumored electric car projectcode-named “Titan,” through a shell company called SixtyEight Research from a small top-secret office building in Sunnyvale, California, just minutes away from the company’s 1 Infinite Loop headquarters in Cupertino, according to intriguing findings published Friday by AppleInsider.

Citing two people with knowledge of the project, the publication claims the Titan building, itself code-named “SG5,” is home to recruits from Tesla and Apple’s other automotive related hires. One person claims that some of the projects underway there have been kept “very secret” within the company.

“To keep their presence under the radar, Apple employees have allegedly been told to turn their official company badges around when entering the building,” a source said.

Another source with an unproven track record contended that Apple bought automotive testing hardware that was delivered to offices near its Cupertino headquarters.

Just to be clear, Apple already has a strong presence in Sunnyvale.

As reported last May, it was looking to set up a seven-building campus which spans nearly 300,000 square feet previously owned by semiconductor firm Maxim Integrated.

City documents and commercial property sources indicated Apple would move about 1,450 workers to the Sunnyvale campus. AppleInsider’s sources asserted that much of the App Store review team works out of these offices. Moreover, the iPhone maker recently invited select developers to test out WatchKit at the Sunnyvale lab.

As for SixtyEight Research, it has a pretty barren website which identifies the company as a market research firm. That being said, there’s very little evidence that the firm has actually done any real projects for clients.

“We are experts in market research, helping companies find the relevant market data and industry analysis required to make informed decisions,” reads a short notice on the SixtyEight website, which was registered through GoDaddy less than a year ago.

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Sources apparently told authors Neil Hughes and Mikey Campbell that project Titan is well beyond the concept stage, with “serious work” underway at the Sunnyvale office and Apple already “receiving shipments” related to the project.

While the report couldn’t determine with a high degree of certainty if car-related work is being carried out at the Sunnyvale campus, Apple’s “large presence” on the premises, which include an “auto work area” and a 4,239 square foot “repair garage,” has been established beyond doubt.

When AppleInsider visited SixtyEight’s headquarters at building ‘175’ earlier this week, its windows were a “frosted opaque, and security cameras were visible outside,” notes the story.

“Even more interesting, however, was a note taped to SixtyEight’s front door. It informs drivers that the company’s lobby has been moved to a new address: the same office complex’s flagship three-story building, leased entirely by Apple.”

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It’s worth noting for the sake of completeness that Apple has been leasing other nearby buildings for years so it’s not like this is the first time the firm’s put up shop in Sunnyvale.

In addition to the campus building described in the aforelinked May 2014 report, Apple in 2012 signed a lease in the city for a four-building campus that now accommodates close to 1,300 employees. That same year, it began building a similar six-building campus in Santa Clara, California.

Apple’s electric car dreams were previously detailed in reports by The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, Reuters and Bloomberg.

Source: AppleInsider