Apple vans are reportedly collecting map data, not testing self-driving system

By Shawn Knight
May 29, 2015
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  1. apple maps 3d maps apple maps map app

    Rumors of an Apple autonomous vehicle reached a fever pitch a few months back, fueled by images of minivans leased to the company equipped with all sorts of gadgetry on the roof. As it turns out, the mystery vehicles aren’t related to Apple’s self-driving vehicle ambitions but to its mapping efforts.

    The vehicles, which have been spotted in large cities like Los Angeles, Dallas and New York throughout the year, are being used to gather base data to improve Apple’s mapping service.

    Sources familiar with the matter recently told 9to5Mac that Apple wants to shift to its own in-house map database by 2017 although a 2018 switch may be more likely as they’re reportedly running a bit behind.

    Apple famously launched its own mapping initiative for iOS a few years back. Without in-house mapping data to draw from, the service was put together using data stitched together from multiple third-party sources such as TomTom.

    The end result was quite the mess, leading CEO Tim Cook to ultimately issue a public apology for its poor showing. The debacle also allegedly led to the firing of Scott Forstall, leader of the original software team that developed iOS.

    Updated mapping data would allow Apple to provide a much better overall mapping experience. What’s more, sources say Apple has recently started collecting data for 3D street views much like Google’s existing offering.

    Image via 9to5Mac

    Permalink to story.

  2. Skewed Input

    Skewed Input TS Rookie Posts: 31   +9

    Wait...I saw a very similar device on a minivan and thought it was the Uber company testing their auto-driving systems? Guess it was Apple...they were in NJ right outside of NYC.
  3. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,689   +395

    I've been pretty disappointed with Apple Maps' routing abilities. I'm sure its a lot more complex to get right than it seems it should be, but I've had some issues that I don't think I would have had with Google Maps. Perhaps they should be working on the overall product and not just making a few cities hyper detailed.
  4. Scshadow

    Scshadow TS Guru Posts: 467   +97

    Could you imagine? Apple telling its customers that you're sitting in it wrong.
  5. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,349   +1,945

    They will... and the iSheep will believe them.
  6. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,349   +1,945

    Gee. And I thought the fruit & veggie trucks I see on the roads did that job.
  7. Rippleman

    Rippleman TS Maniac Posts: 529   +143

    what are isheep?
  8. GreenArrow

    GreenArrow TS Enthusiast Posts: 44   +23

    apple fanboys
  9. rvnwlfdroid

    rvnwlfdroid TS Booster Posts: 120   +22

    Apple has a log way to catch up. By the time they do Google may already have there autonomous vehicles already in production. (with a little luck)

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