Apple could be looking to take down Google Maps with what appears to be a Street View car #MapWars


apple car

Apple has been the butt of many jokes when it comes to maps and navigation. The launch of Apple Maps after the company decided to move away from Google Maps was a mess, though it’s admittedly gotten a lot better since then.

It looks like Apple’s finally looking to take the next step in building out their mapping platform, though. Another vehicle has been spotted with what would normally appear to be some sort of bike and luggage rack on top of a vehicle, and according to a California state official it belongs to Apple.

So what is it? Local news stations jumped the gun and assumed Apple had started developing driver-less vehicle technology like Google is currently doing, though Apple hasn’t secured any licenses or permits for those types of vehicles. This is more likely to be a vehicle that will help Apple gain data to improve navigation and potentially capture a collection of images for use in a Street View-like feature. Here’s a shot of one of Google’s Street View cars for comparison’s sake:


The rack actually houses a number of camera sensors and antennae that could be used to map an area through digital imagery, as well as track the route of the vehicle. The front of the car is also said to be equipped with LiDar sensors, a technology that makes it possible to capture high resolution multi-dimensional images. It’s said to be similar to the same technology used for Google’s Street View cars.

Viewable on the vehicle’s rear wheel is also some sort of sensor that tracks rotations per minute, likely a tool to help validate whatever data it is they’re gathering. And that’s all it is, folks — Apple is getting more serious about maps, but we doubt it’s anything more than their desire to build out a mapping suite capable of standing on its own two feet. Google still seems to be safe as the biggest entity in America looking to push driver-less cars forward.

[via Apple Insider]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Prediction: Apple enthusiasts won’t accuse them of copying Google.

    1. Most people know street view has been around for a long time though.

  2. So, that’s a Dodge Caravan, right? Not an SUV.

  3. I tried Apple Maps as recently as a few weeks ago…..and guess what, it still sucks….sending me to the wrong address. The following week, HERE navigated to that address without any issues.

    I love Apple hardware, but their software and cloud attempts are a complete failure.

    1. I just tried using Google maps yesterday looking for a fitness gym…and guess what, it’s starting to suck….sending me into the middle of residential neighborhood with the gym still being a mile further from where i ended up.

      I Love Google search, gmail, youtube and how they are an innovative company but perhaps if they stopped wasting resources on duds like Glass and put more effort into improving it’s core competency there wouldn’t be other companies catching and sometimes exceeding the innovation that they started.

  4. Apple needs a big flub for publicity, like with their first maps. They could swap street views, maybe Congress for something …. I don’t know what, a pig farm??? :)

  5. As long as HERE maps are still up and running :)

  6. 5 years later apple joins the party and will be hailed as the pioneer of street view

  7. Apple maps – “Veer right. Veer right, now.”

  8. As long apple map doesnt direct you to lakes as destination we should be fine.

  9. “copy” is more accurate than “take down” Nothing can touch Google Maps. Sorry crApple.

  10. They’ll start with a fleet of 10 cars, claiming that’s all they need to map the entire world. iSheep will rejoice.
    5 years later, they’ll come out with a new fleet of 10 bigger cars. iSheep will hail it as the greatest thing anyone has ever done.
    They’ll only have half of Rhode Island mapped at that point…but it will be a very pretty map.

  11. Dodge reliability ensures that they’ll NEVER get it done.

    1. maybe not they did get the R/T trim lol

      1. Yep. That’ll do it.

  12. You can use Google Maps on any computer or device. Can you use Apple Maps on anything other than an Apple device? I’m not likely to ever have to choose between these two services.

  13. I rather use Waze navigation instead using Apple map.

  14. Great job Quentyn! How many unmarked vans do you think Apple will need to take Google down? Like maybe 8 or 9?

  15. Apple’s running out of ideas [again] so it’s time to start copying more stuff from Google.

    1. Google maps has a lot of problems, so I’m happy to see Apple getting serious about proper competition on this front, which should in turn drive Google maps to get better.

  16. It seems odd to me that they’d use Minivans. Much higher gas usage. I think this is likely more than just street view.

    1. Once you put the rig on the roof, gas mileage pretty much goes out the window on any vehicle. The mini-van has plenty of interior cargo space for whatever equipment they’re using to store data and already has a ready made roof rack instead of jury-rigging something custom.

      It’s also built for cargo on the roof, so it probably holds the heavy equipment better.

  17. Biggest quarterly profit in history and they’re using Dodge Caravans?

    At least it’s an American company, there must not have been any Chinese minivans available..

  18. I bet they are getting into the Street View race to also get into the Self Driving Car. it’ll take Apple years to get to where Google is… then even longer to produce a Car. Knowing Apple though they are sitting on a patent for Automated Vehicles or something like that just waiting to sue Google.

    1. I agree, they probably already have a patent. Just like the way they bought the fingerprint company, that Motorola/Google was going to use for the fingerprint scanner, that was going to be on the Nexus 6.

      1. i don’t think they’d sue until after Google acquires/bankrupts Uber/Lyft for the spot of Automated Taxi Service. Then once that revenue is rolling in for Google… Apple will tell the lawyers to lock n’ load.

  19. Good luuuuuuccckkkkkkkkk.

  20. The only people who think Apple Maps are a “disaster” are fanboys who haven’t even used it.

    I use them all the time and they’re infinitely better than Google Maps (and less invasive).

  21. Apple maps > google maps :)

  22. Gee Apple copies Samsung and then goes after iCopying Google too. But…. but…. I thought Apple invented everything way before the dawn of time? O_o lol…..

  23. What a horribly written and edited article. Some other comment was left outlining every one of the huge mistakes in this article, but even as it had 50+ like votes and no down votes, the comment was removed. I would have expected the writer of the article to AT LEAST go back and fix one of his many typographical errors after deleting comments that constructively criticise what should be changed within his article. They did all the editing work for you, for free, and you just delete their comment and leave the article AS IS? What makes you think you have the means to be a writer at any capacity?

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