Spy Shots

Apple minivan looks more like a mapper than a self-driver

  • Image Credit: Mark R/Chris Doane Automotive
The world's highest-profile tech company might be building a self-driving car. But a newly spied picture tells us that Apple is unlikely to be planning an autonomous minivan as its first vehicle – we think.

A rigged-up Dodge Caravan was captured by one of our clandestine shooters, with a decal on the back window that not only says "Apple Maps" clearly, but even has the URL "maps.apple.com" for the curious to check out. The hardware attached to the minivan is clearly abnormal, though it doesn't look at lot like anything we've seen on automaker test vehicles in the past. More like something from Google's workshop. With most other companies, a straightforward piece of signage would be taken at face value, but Apple has historically been very cloak-and-dagger with its product rollouts.

The truth of the matter is that Apple could be working on both technologies at the same time, though not likely all packed into one minivan. We know that the next generation of digital maps are going to have to be inch-perfect to work for truly autonomous cars, and Apple is certainly going to want a better mapping program for its customers, after falling hard with the last version's launch.

The company's interest in the automotive sector is pretty obvious. It's just now getting its CarPlay system into dealerships, for instance. And it wasn't long ago that one of the company's senior vice presidents was calling the car " the ultimate mobile device."

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