Recent reports confirm that Apple has been seen testing vehicles equipped with camera equipment and LIDAR technology in San Francisco, a development which has led to much speculation regarding Apple’s intent – or lack thereof – to get into the car world, much as Google has with their self-driving prototypes.
Theories range from thinking that Apple is just trying to map out streets and build a street-view technology for their maps that can rival Google Maps, all the way to thinking that Apple is trying to create their own driverless vehicles to go head-to-head with Google at the forefront of that area of technological innovation.
So which theories are to be believed? We don’t know for sure yet, but we do know that these Apple “minivans” are doing some exciting things, and we can make some educated guesses as to the real intent of the tech giant.
One thing we have found out recently is that the Apple vehicles are part of a secret project, codenamed “Titan,” which is ostensibly Apple’s initial attempt to research the possibility of getting in on the electric car game – no word on whether that means traditional vehicles or driverless technology, though.
Sources familiar with the “Titan” project state that Apple’s early designs resemble a minivan and that the “iCars” are something that the company would like to make a reality. There is allegedly a 1,000-person team devoted to the project, which would certainly make a major splash for Apple in an area in which the company has yet to venture whatsoever.
In the meantime, it does indeed seem that Apple is testing these LIDAR-equipped vehicles with the purpose of improving the company’s maps databases and functionality. By doing so, and GPS-mapping as many streets as possible, it makes the future of self-driving cars a distinct possibility for the company.
It’s well known that Google has an edge on their driverless competitors, due to the company’s enormous map database, and if Apple can emulate that model, it seems as though the two tech powerhouses will be poised to duel on the roads as well. This should be interesting!