apple camera car

A handful of unmarked minivans have been spotted driving around California over the past several days with what appears to be roof-mounted camera equipment. No one seems to know what the vehicles are up to, but CBS’ Bay Area affiliate was able to confirm with the DMV that at least one of the vans is leased to Apple.

More specifically, the minivans feature custom X-shaped frames atop their luggage racks, fitted with what appears to be 12 cameras. It also has a pair of cylindrical antennas, which the news outlet speculates could be LiDAR sensors—a laser-based technology used in self-driving vehicles, as well as high-resolution mapping.

So does this mean Apple is working on self-driving cars? Probably not. Apple does not have the necessary permits to test driverless vehicles in the state of California. The more likely scenario is that these are mapping cars, similar to Google’s Street View cars, sent out to capture street-level photos for Apple’s mapping software.

Apple has in recent months shown interest in taking its 2-year-old Maps app to the next level. In November, a job listing was discovered hinting that the company is in the process of bringing the app to the web, and it also launched a new Maps Connect portal, which allows businesses to manage their listings within Maps.

Source: KPIX via AppleInsider

  • @dongiuj

    Copying google perhaps to improve its maps?

    • iPhoneWINS

      about damn time

  • Ara Rezaee

    I had a mini heart attack the moment I saw the word “camera” but then you killed my buzz…

  • Hacker4life


  • Carlos Medina

    iDrive while iPhoto for the iMap. baazinga

  • Carlos Medina

    in other news has anyone seen Cydia lately its gone through some changes as Saurik said. Its so beautiful!

  • MKB4k

    I hope it doesn’t have windows.

  • Starman_Andromeda

    Last time I used Google maps and Apple maps, both located a building in the wrong place!!

  • GzyOnline

    I passed one of these vans this week on San Pablo Blvd./Appian Way in Pinole.. You might see me in Apple Maps! 😛