Apple confirms vans are for mapping data, reveals future locations they will be driving

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 2015
Apple has officially brought to an end the speculation surrounding its formerly secretive mapping vans, revealing that the vehicles are collecting data for future Apple Maps updates, and also emphasizing both privacy and transparency with a list of upcoming driving locations.

One of Apple's sensor-laden vans, spotted in Hawaii by AppleInsider reader matthawaii.
One of Apple's sensor-laden vans, spotted in Hawaii by AppleInsider reader matthawaii.


A new website devoted to the Apple Maps vehicles reveals that the data being collected by the vans "will be used to improve Apple Maps." AppleInsider was first to report back in February that the equipment on the sensor-laden vans indicated they were being used to boost the quality of its mapping data, particularly for Flyover or a potential Google Street View-like option.

On its new site, Apple has placed an emphasis on privacy, ensuring users that it will blur faces and license plates on collected images before they are published.

The company has also shared a list of locations where its vans will be scanning between June 15 and June 30. The vans will be spotted in Ireland, England, and across the U.S.

The full list of locations where Apple Maps vans will be in late June are:

United States

  • Arizona - Pima (Tucson)
  • California - Alameda (Oakland), Los Angeles (Los Angeles)
  • Florida - Orange County (Orlando)
  • Georgia - Fulton (Atlanta)
  • Hawaii - Hawaii (Oahu)
  • Illinois - Cook (Chicago)
  • Massachusetts - Suffolk (Boston)
  • Michigan - Wayne (Detroit)
  • Missouri - St. Louis (St. Louis)
  • New York - New York (New York City)
  • Texas - Dallas (Dallas), Tarrant (Fort Worth)
  • Utah - Salt Lake (Salt Lake City)
  • Washington - King (Seattle)

England

  • East of England - Essex (Brentwood, Epping Forest), Hertfordshire (Broxbourne, Dacorum, Hertsmere, St Albans, Three Rivers, Watford, Welwyn Hatfield)
  • Greater London - Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Bexley, Brent, Bromley, Camden, City of London, City of Westminster, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Haringey, Harrow, Havering, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Kingston upon Thames, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Newham, Redbridge, Richmond upon Thames, Southwark, Sutton, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Wandsworth
  • South East - Kent (Dartford, Sevenoaks), Surrey (Elmbridge, Epsom and Ewell, Spelthorne)
  • West Midlands - Birmingham (Sutton Coldfield, Perry Barr, Erdington, Ladywood, Hodge Hill, Yardley, Edgbaston, Hall Green, Selly Oak, Northfield), Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Staffordshire, Walsall, Warwickshire, Worcestershire

Ireland

  • Leinster - Dublin (Dublin City [Ashtown, Ballybough, Ballyfermot, Ballygall, Ballymun, Beaumont, Cabra, Chapelizod, Cherry Orchard, Clontarf, Coolock, Crumlin, Donaghmede, Drimnagh, Drumcondra, East Wall, Fairview, Finglas, Firhouse, Glasnevin, Inchicore, Irishtown, Kilbarrack, Kilmainham, Kilmore, Kimmage, Knocklyon, North Wall, Pembre, Phibsborough, Raheny, Rathfarnham, Rathgar, Rathmines, Ringsend, Sandymount, Santry, Templeogue, Terenure, The Liberties, Walkinstown, Whitehall], D?n Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal, South Dublin)
Apple's disclosure should finally bring to an end hopeful speculation that the company might be using the vans to test out autonomous driving on active roads.

Separately, Apple is believed to be working on a top-secret vehicle project near its headquarters in California. AppleInsider was first to report on a facility known as "SG5" in Sunnyvale, Calif., where the company is believed to be working on "Project Titan," obscured by a possible shell corporation dubbed "SixtyEight."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 37
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member

    Glad to see Apple copying Street View and even happier to see that they're starting with the UK. This news plus the new public transport features may get me to switch from Google Maps.

  • Reply 2 of 37
    roakeroake Posts: 638member
    In my opinion, what is the strongest evidence so far that Apple is working on something more secret than what they are admitting. Apple just isn't in the habit of making info like this public at this stage in the game. The only realistic reason that they would do this is to throw people off the scent of something that they care about [B]even more[/B] so that it remains a secret.

    Since dramatically-enhanced Flyover and a potential new "Street-view" in Apple Maps is a very big deal, it stands to reason that whatever they are trying to keep under wraps is an [I]even bigger[/I] deal, and probably something that they do not wish to publicize in case they fail/decide to halt the project.

    I think that the project they are trying to keep hidden is very possibly the autonomously-driving car.
  • Reply 3 of 37
    fracfrac Posts: 480member
    Historically, the village where I used to live in Norfolk, was where Google Maps started Streetview trials. It would be neat if Apple did the same. I'd even offer my services to drive the van 8-)
  • Reply 4 of 37
    theothergeofftheothergeoff Posts: 2,081member
    @DaringFireball had Mark Gherman(sp?) on and he had sources that said that this is less about street view, and more about HighRes pictures of locations for businesses/locations of interest to replace Yelp supplied photos.
  • Reply 5 of 37
    "Apple's disclosure should finally bring to an end hopeful speculation that the company might be using the vans to test out autonomous driving on active roads."

    Nope.

    You can make maps and test autonomous driving at the same time.
  • Reply 6 of 37
    [QUOTE]Apple's disclosure should finally bring to an end hopeful speculation that the company might be using the vans to test out autonomous driving on active roads.[/QUOTE]

    Meanwhile, here's some hopeful speculation about autonomous driving on active roads...
  • Reply 7 of 37
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,585member
    @DaringFireball had Mark Gherman(sp?) on and he had sources that said that this is less about street view, and more about HighRes pictures of locations for businesses/locations of interest to replace Yelp supplied photos.

    There was another source even before him that said the same thing. It was more for business locations than the all-encompassing street-view. Yelp is supposedly on the way out.
  • Reply 8 of 37
    "Apple's disclosure should finally bring to an end hopeful speculation that the company might be using the vans to test out autonomous driving on active roads."

    Nope.

    You can make maps and test autonomous driving at the same time.

    Nope.

    This line of unreason can help justify anything. For example: you can use Area 51 for testing secret planes and keep dead aliens at Area 51 at the same time.
  • Reply 9 of 37
    Area 51 is a big place is it not? Are you saying Apple can't do two things at once?

    Anyway, what I'm saying is, I don't expect the speculation to end.

    If they, are making a car, they sure better be working on autonomous driving or they'll be way behind on features when the car is finished.
  • Reply 10 of 37
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,094member
    @DaringFireball had Mark Gherman(sp?) on and he had sources that said that this is less about street view, and more about HighRes pictures of locations for businesses/locations of interest to replace Yelp supplied photos.

    "Gurman"
  • Reply 11 of 37
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,216member
    frac wrote: »
    Historically, the village where I used to live in Norfolk, was where Google Maps started Streetview trials. It would be neat if Apple did the same. I'd even offer my services to drive the van 8-)

    Do they have a barge views too? :)
  • Reply 12 of 37
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,216member
    I still chuckle that people thought this was Apple about to come out with a Dodge Caravan style Apple vehicle, even extolling the virtues of such a design. Priceless! :D
  • Reply 13 of 37
    roake wrote: »
    In my opinion, what is the strongest evidence so far that Apple is working on something more secret than what they are admitting. Apple just isn't in the habit of making info like this public at this stage in the game. The only realistic reason that they would do this is to throw people off the scent of something that they care about even more so that it remains a secret.

    Since dramatically-enhanced Flyover and a potential new "Street-view" in Apple Maps is a very big deal, it stands to reason that whatever they are trying to keep under wraps is an even bigger deal, and probably something that they do not wish to publicize in case they fail/decide to halt the project.

    I think that the project they are trying to keep hidden is very possibly the autonomously-driving car.

    you're not helping to keep it secret....
  • Reply 14 of 37
    5150iii5150iii Posts: 96member
    Confirmed that they were in the outskirts of Cook County(Illinois) about a week ago. Grey Caravan with Cali plates and all the sensors on top and lower edges.
  • Reply 15 of 37
    applezillaapplezilla Posts: 941member

    Have they been to Philadelphia yet? The coming Transit part of Apple Maps covers Philly.

     

    Send the vans, please.

  • Reply 16 of 37

    Never thought I'd see my birth town "Lewisham" mentioned on AppleInsider :)

  • Reply 17 of 37
    curtis hannahcurtis hannah Posts: 1,756member
    Good for that, just still saddening Google maps covers more cities by far.
  • Reply 18 of 37
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,113member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Roake View Post



    In my opinion, what is the strongest evidence so far that Apple is working on something more secret than what they are admitting. Apple just isn't in the habit of making info like this public at this stage in the game. The only realistic reason that they would do this is to throw people off the scent of something that they care about even more so that it remains a secret.



    Since dramatically-enhanced Flyover and a potential new "Street-view" in Apple Maps is a very big deal, it stands to reason that whatever they are trying to keep under wraps is an even bigger deal, and probably something that they do not wish to publicize in case they fail/decide to halt the project.



    I think that the project they are trying to keep hidden is very possibly the autonomously-driving car.

     

    You are just over complicating things.  There's no car and if there was, None of this would be needed anyway.   It's always been about improving Apple Maps!!!  I'm sure Apple is getting tired of everyone saying how much better Google maps is as it can do this and that and the other thing.  Apple just doesn't have to be flashy about doing it's thing and plastering Apple and a big MAP all over their cars like Google does!!!   This is all about and has only ever been about making Apple Maps better.  Creating their own Maps.  Apple creating their own Map Data could stop buying TomTom and whoever else's Map Data.   With Transit stuff added, Street View and better Maps over all, there's no need to use Google Maps anymore for most people on a Apple phone anymore.  

     

    There's no Apple Car.  If Apple was working on something like that, Who cares at this point in time.  It doesn't matter.  it would be years away.  Making Cars and following all the government regulations on them doesn't happen overnight.   There's so much more into a car then just a computer or CarPlay.   Google is all Flash, but you won't see their cars on the road anytime soon.   

  • Reply 19 of 37
    command_fcommand_f Posts: 293member

    Edit - in reply to Gatorguy saying: "There was another source even before him that said the same thing. It was more for business locations than the all-encompassing street-view."

     

    I think Apple would do some expectation management if this were the case. Imagine the disappointment, then the pro-Google backlash, if hopes of a Street View competitor (indeed, a better competitor) were dashed by a business-only subset.

     

    I have long thought that Apple Maps lacks only street view, better data and better search to be a Google competitor. Looks like the first two are being addressed, so what about search? I'm looking out for an acquisition since I really hope they don't try to do it in-house from scratch.

  • Reply 20 of 37
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,113member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Curtis Hannah View Post



    Good for that, just still saddening Google maps covers more cities by far.

     

    This list is just places Apple plans to visit soon.  Not places Apple has already been to!!!  Google has been working on their Maps for far longer then Apple.  I'd hope they would have more complete Data then Apple by now.  

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