Apple mystery van 001

No, the mysterious vans that were spotted in different parts of the country this year aren’t part of Project Titan, Apple’s secret self-driving car project. Instead, they are used to gather data that will most likely be used to power future versions of the company’s Maps app, reducing reliance on third-party data providers, as Mark Gurman reported Friday.  

According to Gurman, who spoke to sources familiar with Apple’s plans, the company intends to move the core mapping data collection in house, instead of relying on its multiple partners. Pegged for 2017, this overhaul of Maps would give the company more control over the data used in Maps. This is actually how companies like Google collect their own data, taking all third-party providers out of the equation.

Adding to his report, Gurman notes that the vans are used to collect Street View data, and take pictures of businesses. Street View data could be used to compete with Google’s similar feature, and photos of businesses could be used to reduce once again the company’s reliance on third-party partners such as Yelp, who’s been providing the photos of business storefronts seen in Maps app.

Source: 9to5mac

  • Trevor Salmon

    Spotted one in Salt Lake City, Utah last week.

  • Chang in Charge

    It would be interesting to see how much money Google has spent on different aspects of Google Maps like Street view and how much Apple has spent. Doubt we will ever find out this level of detail but it would be super interesting to know.

    • John

      My assumption is that Google would have spent more in terms of R&D but Apple would have spent more on quality and on amount of content captured.

    • I would imagine Google has spent (and will keep spending) considerably more considering how vital it is to its overall business: search.

  • Nice, hope there are lots of these outside the US, ’cause that’s where Apple maps needs significant improvement…

    • junkscienc

      Where do I sign up to drive?!!

  • @dongiuj

    Which is what I said originally. But then again I would of thought apple would use a more fuel efficient and more environmentally friendly vehicle.

  • SoylentGreen

    If you Believe that these are just for helping you have better street views, your nuts, the Facts broke on world net daily months ago, I guess stingray data Hoovering isn’t making the prosecutors drop unprecedented numbers of felony cases for fear of disclosing there detailed use either, or Obama isn’t ruling by executive order or one of my personal favourite Obamaisms, I quote “raising the debt ceiling, does not increase the debt”. La La La you can get your shots with your gmo takeout at hamburger shop, HURRY and bring your kids,
    Sheeple.