Apple could be test-driving its self-driving vehicle as mysterious minivan was seen roaming the streets of the San Francisco Bay Area. Speculations intensified when officials confirmed that the roving mysterious van was indeed leased to Apple.
The unusual apparatus mounted on the minivan’s roof got the attention of the Concord residents. One of whom was Melisa Lewis who said that she could not figure out what the minivan was because it lacked markings on the side as compared to the cars used for the Google Street View. The Department of Motor Vehicles later confirmed that the minivan was leased to Apple, CBS SF Bay Area reported.
The many cameras on the strange apparatus made technology analyst Rob Enderle believe that the minivan is the prototype of Apple’s driverless car. “Too many cameras. It has cameras that are angled down at all four corners of the vehicle,” Enderle told CBS SF Bay Area.
He said that Apple may not be one of the companies that have sought permit to test self-driving cars but the company may have instead entered into a partnership with a car maker for its project. Enderle explained that Apple have partnerships with different carmakers. He added that there are lots of self-driving prototypes that make it hard to identify if a vehicle is one of those.
“By 2020, we’ll be up to our armpits in these things. We’re on a very fast path to self-driving cars,” he said.
Meanwhile, CBS SF Bay Area sought Apple’s comment but to no avail.
The mysterious minivan was first sighted by staff at Claycord News & Talk who posted pictures of the car and approached the man inside the car for comments. The man did not say anything.
People who saw the minivan described the car as similar to that of Google’s self-driving vehicle, especially the apparatus on the roof and equipments on the tires. Claycord News & Talk have posted videos and pictures of the mysterious vehicle to its website.
One video showed that a similar car was roaming Brooklyn, New York according to Claycord News & Talk. One commenter on Claycord News & Talk’s website said equipment attached to the vehicle’s wheel means that it is gathering speed data and the cameras on the apparatus on the roof are scanning the surrounding area.