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Apple has updated its website to indicate that its Apple Maps vehicles will begin surveying Connecticut for the first time this month.

Apple-Van-New-Jersey-800x385.jpg

For nearly two years, Apple has been driving vehicles around the world to collect data for Apple Maps--widely believed to be street-level imagery. Since 2015, the vehicles have surveyed over 30 states in the United States, in addition to parts of the United Kingdom, Italy, France, and Sweden.

Apple said it will blur faces and license plates on collected images prior to publication, suggesting that it could be working on adding a Street View feature to Apple Maps, similar to what Google Maps has offered for several years. But, the imagery and other mapping data could be used for a variety of purposes.

When Apple's fleet of Dodge Caravans first hit the streets, it was speculated they could be the basis of an Apple Car. But those rumors quieted down after the vans were labeled with Apple Maps decals, and because Apple has shifted towards autonomous driving software, rather than an entire vehicle, at least for now.

Moreover, the California Department of Motor Vehicles confirmed that Apple is using a fleet of Lexus SUVs, which have since been spotted on the road, to test self-driving software. It's known that Apple's platform currently uses a Logitech wheel and pedals, and drivers can take over manually if necessary.

Nevertheless, so-called Apple Maps vehicles could still be playing a role in the company's autonomous driving plans.

Neil Cybart, an independent Apple analyst at Above Avalon, told MacRumors that Apple Maps vehicles are "very likely capturing mapping data," such as street level imagery, that will aid Apple's autonomous driving efforts.
I don't think these Apple Maps vehicles are just meant to improve Apple Maps. Instead, my suspicion is they are part of Project Titan. Specifically, the vehicles are likely playing a role in building the groundwork for Apple's autonomous driving technology. The data collected by these vehicles may be used for testing autonomous driving technology using indoor simulation.
Cybart, who confirmed seeing an Apple Maps vehicle in Connecticut earlier this week, said the mapping data collected could be a "foundation" for Apple's autonomous driving technology platform.
Apple Maps vehicles are not autonomous cars. Instead, they are very likely capturing mapping data (i.e. imagery) that will aid Apple's autonomous driving efforts. My view is that this mapping data isn't just for Apple Maps Street View, which wouldn't be too useful, but rather for building a mapping foundation for Apple's autonomous driving technology platform.
Connecticut and many other states that Apple has surveyed don't currently allow autonomous vehicle testing on their public roads, so Apple very likely is collecting data only, as it says. Whether that data is used for a Street View feature, autonomous driving software, or both, remains to be seen.

Article Link: Apple Maps Vehicles Begin Surveying Connecticut, Imagery Could Aid Apple's Autonomous Driving Efforts
 

Col4bin

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Besides some Millennials and corporations who stand to potentially make billions of dollars on a potential reshaping of the automotive industry, who else is really that interested in self-driving cars, anyway? Seems like Apple and many others are doing what they can to force this change to grab a slice of the pie, to reap financial benefits.
 
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solipsism

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Jan 13, 2008
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Besides Millennials and corporations who stand to potentially make billions of dollars on a potential reshaping of the automotive industry, who else is really that interested in self-driving cars, anyway? Seems like Apple and many others are doing what they can to force this change to grab a slice of the pie, to reap financial benefits.

I'm neither of those categories, and I'm all for safer driving that also reduces fuel/energy costs, reduces wear and tear, and allows current highway congestion to allow for faster drive times/current drive times to allow for more congestion.
 
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Col4bin

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I'm neither of those categories, and I'm all for safer driving that also reduces fuel/energy costs, reduces wear and tear, and allows for more current highways to allow for more traffic for the current time frames/ faster times with the current traffic.
If autonomous self-driven cars were to suddenly populate the roadways tomorrow, not sure why there would be a reduction in fuel and energy costs, or a reduction in wear and tear (to roads, bridges or to vehicles as a whole?) You also realize that there wouldn't be a reduction to the amount of cars on the road either. If all cars were suddenly swapped with autonomously driven cars, plus further increasing the amount of vehicles on the road due to many companies "cashing in" on autonomously driven car services, the number will greatly increase. The most novel idea here is one of safety, but it will be a long time yet before that is guaranteed. While overall your sentiments are novel and heroic, and we appreciate your sacrifice for mankind, my guess is that you currently live in a heavily populated area and either use public transportation on a daily basis, or ride a bike to get around, making your decision an easy one? Be honest.
 
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solipsism

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If autonomously self-driven cars were to suddenly populate the roadways tomorrow, not sure why there would be a reduction in fuel and energy costs, or a reduction in wear and tear (to roads, bridges or to vehicles as a whole?) You also realize that there wouldn't be a reduction to the amount of cars on the road either. If all cars were suddenly swapped with autonomously driven cars, plus further increasing the amount of vehicles on the road due to many companies "cashing in" on autonomously driven car services, the number will greatly increase. The most novel idea here is one of safety, but it will be a long time yet before that is guaranteed. While overall your sentiments are novel and heroic, and we appreciate your sacrifice for mankind, my guess is that you currently live in a heavily populated area and either use public transportation on a daily basis, or ride a bike to get around?

1) Autonomous vehicles are more efficient by nature than human drivers, hence they're more fuel efficient and reduce wear and tear. They can also drive closer together at a given speed—potentially without a traffic wave once vehicles are locally linked, which allows for even more vehicles to be placed on a road (as previously stated), which also helps increase efficiency through drafting.

2) I see nothing novel about automotive safety.

3) You have nothing to worry about. Technology will evolve at pace so there's no "if all cars were suddenly swapped" scenario to be concerned about. In a generation or two everyone will be scratching their head as to why old people thought they were better suited at handling a multi-tonne vehicle in a stressful situation over a multi-redundant system with dozens of sensor doing a billion or calculations a second without ever getting tired, distracted, rubbernecking, dealign with a bee in the car, changing the radio, a crying kid, a stressful day, and on and on and on. This is the future.
 
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Col4bin

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1) Autonomous vehicles are more efficient by nature than human drivers, hence they're more fuel efficient and reduce wear and tear. They can also drive closer together at a given speed—potentially without a traffic wave once vehicles are locally linked, which allows for even more vehicles to be placed on a road (as previously stated), which also helps increase efficiency through drafting.

2) I see nothing novel about automotive safety.

3) You have nothing to worry about. Technology will evolve at pace so there's no "if all cars were suddenly swapped" scenario to be concerned about. In a generation or two everyone will be scratching their head as to why old people thought they were better suited at handling a multi-tonne vehicle in a stressful situation over a multi-redundant system with dozens of sensor doing a billion or calculations a second without ever getting tired, distracted, rubbernecking, dealign with a bee in the car, changing the radio, a crying kid, a stressful day, and on and on and on. This is the future.
Quite the utopian vision, and I admit that it sounds pretty amazing. However, we'll see how well this integrates over the next 100 years or so as one of the biggest challenges in the U.S. at least, as many states have fallen behind with serious road, bridge and highway infrastructure repairs and updates that are needed. Not to mention taxes are already high and public works funding is low. Would imagine that a fully autonomous system of the future will only work as well as local roadside conditions allow. I can see this evolving in some major cities perhaps, but not everywhere. So while it's certainly future-thinking, I don't think it will be a 100% reality for a very long time, if ever.
 
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solipsism

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Quite the utopian vision, and I admit that it sounds pretty amazing. However, we'll see how well this integrates over the next 100 years or so as one of the biggest challenges in the U.S. at least, is many states have fallen behind with serious road, bridge and highway infrastructure repairs and updates that are needed. Would imagine that automois system of the future will only work as well as local roadside conditions allow. I can see this in some major cities perhaps, but not everywhere.

My statement is no more utopian than saying that the automobile will replace the horse and buggy as a more effective mode of transportation a century ago; and these are all natural steps to more automation, which you're surely very familiar with even without knowing it. The automatic transmission, anti-lock breaks, cruise control, adaptive cruise control, and the multitude of sensors that evaluate weight distribution, and traction, are just a few of the more prominent items that computers can monitor better than humans.
 
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69Mustang

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In between a rock and a hard place
My statement is no more utopian than saying that the automobile will replace the horse and buggy as a more effective mode of transportation a century ago; and these are all nature steps to more automation, which you're surely very familiar with even without knowing it. The automatic transmission, anti-lock breaks, cruise control, adaptive cruise control, and the multitude of sensors that evaluate the road, weigh distribution, and traction, are just a few of the more prominent items that computers do better than humans, or do you think that you're more efficient at rapidly depressing and releasing the breaks so they don't lock up?
@Col4bin right regarding infrastructure. It's the one point you seem to be glossing over. The biggest impediment to autonomous driving is infrastructure. The roads have to be better. Right now in the US, the roads are quite crappy and as he mentioned, funding for improvements is sorely lacking. That doesn't even take into account all of the new infrastucture that will have to be created for full autonomy to be a reality. The streets will literally have to be as computerized as the cars. As for the cars, there will have to be standards set and followed by all car makers so that all the cars can actually communicate with each other. Every company's home brew is going to have to have that common communication ingredient. Otherwise, it ain't gonna work. There are so many more hurdles to overcome before the picture you've painted even has a chance to become a reality.
 
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Pakaku

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Besides some Millennials and corporations who stand to potentially make billions of dollars on a potential reshaping of the automotive industry, who else is really that interested in self-driving cars, anyway? Seems like Apple and many others are doing what they can to force this change to grab a slice of the pie, to reap financial benefits.
I think the people who should be interested (whether actually interested or not) would be people who can't drive, people who are unfit to drive, and in an indirect way, the people who have to put up with bad drivers on the road.
 
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solipsism

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@Col4bin right regarding infrastructure. It's the one point you seem to be glossing over. The biggest impediment to autonomous driving is infrastructure. The roads have to be better. Right now in the US, the roads are quite crappy and as he mentioned, funding for improvements is sorely lacking. That doesn't even take into account all of the new infrastucture that will have to be created for full autonomy to be a reality. The streets will literally have to be as computerized as the cars. As for the cars, there will have to be standards set and followed by all car makers so that all the cars can actually communicate with each other. Every company's home brew is going to have to have that common communication ingredient. Otherwise, it ain't gonna work. cbefore the picture you've painted even has a chance to become a reality.

1) Since autonomous vehicles exist today it invalidates your entire claim that all those things will have to be changed before any advancement in autonomous driving will occur, not to mention previously statement advancements that have occurred over the last century.

2) There are hurdles with every advancement but you two are only seeing a mountain and saying "we can't step over that" instead of seeing how every step gets you a little closer to your destination. Again, this is happening right now whether you like it or not.
 
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Zirel

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Besides some Millennials and corporations who stand to potentially make billions of dollars on a potential reshaping of the automotive industry, who else is really that interested in self-driving cars, anyway? Seems like Apple and many others are doing what they can to force this change to grab a slice of the pie, to reap financial benefits.

What did I just read?

Lots of people die and get severely injured in car accidents, mainly because they are distracted, tired, sleepy or even drunk.

Lots of people need their mobility but they can't, because they are handicapped, too old to drive, suffering disease, too young to drive, etc.

But yeah, it's just people that want to make money… those capitalist pig-dogs!
 
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Lancer

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I think an Apple self drive car will be like the TARDIS, it will take you where you need to go not where you want to go :)
 
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IJ Reilly

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To my knowledge, this publication alone promoted the idea that these vans when they were first spotted were connected to an "Apple Car" project (the existence of which was never supported by a shred of real evidence). Now we are supposed to believe that they might still be connected to an autonomous driving project, despite the fact that they are chugging around in many states that don't even allow them yet. If true this would be a pretty silly deployment of resources, would it not?

Disconnect city.
 
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Col4bin

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My statement is no more utopian than saying that the automobile will replace the horse and buggy as a more effective mode of transportation a century ago; and these are all natural steps to more automation, which you're surely very familiar with even without knowing it. The automatic transmission, anti-lock breaks, cruise control, adaptive cruise control, and the multitude of sensors that evaluate weight distribution, and traction, are just a few of the more prominent items that computers can monitor better than humans.
Not arguing with your theory--in principle it is sound. I feel we need to temper expectations in terms of overall timing for full implementation of this vision as the technology and local infrastructure affording this opportunity still needs to converge. Not to mention this perceived shift in the automotive industry is infinitely more complex than horse and buggy to locomotive to modern day automobile.
[doublepost=1494142066][/doublepost]
Gee, I feel like it's 1998 all over again: and Apple releasing computers with no ADB or SCSI ports.
I get your point but a poor comparison. In 1998 Apple lead the charge in modernizing computers sans ADB and SCSI as you suggest and Apple was disruptive and different. Whereas with the autonomous car subject of today, Apple seems to be playing catch-up with some other more firmly entrenched competitors in this same space, aimed at being first to market with technology to offer an autonomous car driving service; hence Apple's recognition of China and investing in Didi. And who knows about their own car aspirations beyond that?
 
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thekeyring

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I thought it was revealed it wasn't for street level imagery, but rather Apple were building their own mapping database, that's more accurate than what they already have?
 
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apolloa

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Time, because it rules EVERYTHING!
1) Autonomous vehicles are more efficient by nature than human drivers, hence they're more fuel efficient and reduce wear and tear. They can also drive closer together at a given speed—potentially without a traffic wave once vehicles are locally linked, which allows for even more vehicles to be placed on a road (as previously stated), which also helps increase efficiency through drafting.

2) I see nothing novel about automotive safety.

3) You have nothing to worry about. Technology will evolve at pace so there's no "if all cars were suddenly swapped" scenario to be concerned about. In a generation or two everyone will be scratching their head as to why old people thought they were better suited at handling a multi-tonne vehicle in a stressful situation over a multi-redundant system with dozens of sensor doing a billion or calculations a second without ever getting tired, distracted, rubbernecking, dealign with a bee in the car, changing the radio, a crying kid, a stressful day, and on and on and on. This is the future.

Hmm, well as it's humans that are building these autonomous cars, the very same who don't like driving as you described, and they are doing it for money and not safety or convenience, I don't buy you point number 3 for a second.
Your almost implying the human brain is actually incapable of performing all those calculations and handling those situations, and yet their is not ONE computer more powerful then the average human brain. Not one.

So forgive me if I'd rather trust a human stilll then a robot at present and for quite some time yet.
 
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Col4bin

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What did I just read?

Lots of people die and get severely injured in car accidents, mainly because they are distracted, tired, sleepy or even drunk.

Lots of people need their mobility but they can't, because they are handicapped, too old to drive, suffering disease, too young to drive, etc.

But yeah, it's just people that want to make money… those capitalist pig-dogs!
Thank you for sharing. These are some novel reasons for pushing automated driving. Taking emotion out of the equation in this instance, as stats would tell you, these numbers most likely pale in comparison against the total number of drivers in general. So to assume corporate financial motivation or gain is not the baseline reason to push this technology is just shortsighted.
[doublepost=1494159714][/doublepost]
I think the people who should be interested (whether actually interested or not) would be people who can't drive, people who are unfit to drive, and in an indirect way, the people who have to put up with bad drivers on the road.
I would like to see some statistics of those people you cite versus the rest of the driving population. I don't personally remember being surveyed.
 
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alexgowers

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Jun 3, 2012
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I'm pretty sure apple wants to improve maps and add street view to kill that as a feature advantage. Sure it might help their self driving software but self driving cars are so far away from being able to do anything other that simple driving tasks and aren't the solution people really want. Tesla pretty much do all I would currently trust a car to do but they have access to many cars now driving and learning from the real world, it's possible Tesla will be the only ones able to create something clever enough to do totally unassisted driving.

Its very far off but the day my car picks me up from the pub and drives me home I will know we've made it.
 
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