Apple is secretly testing camera-equipped cars which were photographed in San Francisco area. The vehicles are blue Dodge Caravan who are leased to the company from Cupertino. On the top of their roofs is added a X-shaped structure and in every end it has couple of panoramic cameras.
The total number of them is about 12, which is the similar to the latest Google Street View cars.
In the front and rear part of the roof are fitted two LiDAR sensors. These cylindrical spinning devices uses lasers and other technologies to scan the surrounding area. They are key part of making high-resolution ground maps and also are one of the primary systems of the self-driving cars.
The purpose of the camera-equipped cars
The camera-equipped cars are leased from Apple and have two possible applications. The first and more likely one is that the tech giant is preparing its own street photo service – as analogue to Google Street View.
Apple in the past few years tries to alienate from Google’s services. The most notorious case is when the company from Cupertino ditch Google Maps and introduce its own mapping and navigation service. But the first version has a lot of flaws and glitches.
So this case sounds very plausible.
The second alleged purpose is that Apple is developing its own autonomous vehicles. And those camera-equipped cars are the actual prototypes.
This is more unlikely because of few factors. For the beginning Apple doesn’t have permission to test self-driving cars in San Francisco. And secondly the company from Cupertino loves to innovates, but not to get in crazy adventures like Google do.
Apple prefers someone else to test various technologies and after that to combine them and introduce them in the market.
If Apple is preparing a Street View to its Maps service with these camera-equipped cars it is a very long shot. Google already has a substantial number of such vehicles and cover a lot of places.
Apple will need a lot of time to offer the same coverage.
Possible purpose of the camera-equipped cars:
– As mapping and creating Apple Street view service – 75%
– Creating an autonomous car – 25%
Image Credit: claycord.com