Date: Tuesday, June 28th, 2016, 08:10
Category: Hardware, News
This could be either an Apple mapping van or a self-driving car prototype.
During a drive over San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge on Saturday, a modified van was spotted.
Among the collection of gadgets on the roof are the spinning Lidar laser sensors often used for self-driving cars. There are also cameras on the roof. And there’s a large antenna above the rear wheel. Yet this car has no obvious markings or insignia to identify it – not even a license plate.
It’s unclear as to which company’s van this might be, but a special web site Apple keeps tracks the movements of its mapping vans. The site lists San Francisco as one of many locations for the period of June 20 through July 3. Still, the list of locations has been virtually unchanged for the past year, so this is up in the air.
The most interesting thing is the sensors the van has been equipped with. While the gear on top of the van looks sufficient for a mapping vehicle, the driver also has her hands on the wheel. That doesn’t in itself disqualify it as a self-driving car, of course, but it’s telling. A straight drive on the freeway like this would typically be prime territory for a car to show off its autonomous driving skills. The front-facing camera array may also lend support to an autonomous self-driving vehicle.
There was also a copilot in the passenger’s seat who was holding his smartphone up and appeared to be taking pictures or measurements of some kind:
Apple declined to comment about the van.
As always, please let us know what you think in the comments.