Minivans are a staple of the US Landscape, and now Apple is testing Minivans equipped with Cameras and a LiDAR Sensor for a possible new (secret) project. There have been numerous sightings of these vehicles in recent weeks. What does Apple have up its secret sleeve this time? Is Apple possibly trying to compete with Google Streetview? A bit late to the Mapping game, Apple seem to finally want to shed their ill-received entry into mapping technology, and are actively trying to give their Google counterparts a run for their money, so to speak.
The Apple Minivans have the mysterious new technology attached to their luggage racks, with what seem to be cameras attached to each corner. There are also spinning, cylindrical devices in the front and rear of this new contraption. The mysterious contraption is rumoured to be a LiDAR sensor, which measures distance by using lasers to analyse the reflected light from a target surface. This would either indicate that Apple is trying to jump on the street mapping bandwagon, popularised by Google, or that they are indeed testing self-driving cars. iCars anyone?
It seems that the ever-ambitious and trend-setting Apple is following in Google’s footsteps this time, instead of setting the trend. It will be quite interesting to see what they can come up with, given the well-established competition. The unfortunate launch of their Maps application still has some people avoiding it, even though it has been vastly improved since launch. This could be their attempt to once-and-for all shed the negative image of Apple Maps and sway consumers back to Apple Land for their navigational needs.
Whether the spotted vehicles are mapping vehicles, a la Streetview, or are the first phase of self-driving cars, they caused quite a stir of speculation all across the internet recently. Could this be the first phase of the iCar revolution? Could it soon be possible to get into your iCar, select your favourite iTunes song on your iPhone and be driven to your iDestination? We shall see what develops.
For now, Apple are keeping mum on the whole project and have refused to comment on the matter.