Business Insider’s Alexei Oreskovic spotted an “unplated” van on the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco this weekend that looked like an Apple self-driving van. Not only did it have some of the typical hardware seen on Google’s vehicles, but it also had roof cameras, a large antenna above the back wheel, and spinning Lidar sensors.
The van was a Ford Transit, full-size cargo vehicle. It is the same type of vehicle that has been spotted before and assumed to be used by Apple. A reliable source affiliated with self-driving technology believes it may have been an Apple mapping car.
Apple Maps has a website that provides a listing of mapping dates and locations that has remained unchanged for a year. It does list San Francisco, along with many other locations, during this time period.
The van had a driver and a passenger. The driver was holding the wheel, but one would suspect that this would be the case as the vehicle was venturing over the bridge. Unfortunately, the vehicle was not seen on the open highway. The passenger was said to be using a smartphone and taking photos or videos or measurements.
Another source said that while the gear atop the van seemed complex enough to be used for the purposes of mapping, it is unknown whether it could be used for self-driving.
Apple, of course, declined to comment. Had the vehicle been simply an Apple mapping van, or didn’t belong to Apple whatsoever, the company should have had no secrets. Either Apple is attempting to hide information about the Apple Car or an Apple self-driving van, or it has become too much fun for Tim Cook and friends to keep us feeling like it’s Christmas Eve.
Source (Business Insider)