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What’s Behind Apple’s Camera-Laden Dodge Caravans

by David Zatz on

When Dodge Caravans festooned with cameras were traced back to Apple, Inc, currently worth over $700 billion on the stock market, many pundits were quick to claim that Apple must be developing its own self-driving car.

In some ways, it was a fair assumption, since any move by Apple is copied by Google or Microsoft, but the chance of Apple changing the user interface for self-driving cars is minimal; the company would have to spend huge amounts, for little to no likely return, in a market saturated by other players, including Google, GM, Daimler, and nearly every other major mainstream automaker.

Chrysler Town & Country - Dodge Caravan minivans

(We requested an image from MacRumors but they did not reply within two days, so here’s a standard minivan without the camera gear, which is mounted on a large cradle on the roof. Why they use minivans rather than more fuel-sipping vehicles remains unknown, since Apple is generally a rather “green” company, generating power for its server farms from its own solar grids.)

According to the story, the Dodge Caravans registered by Apple are likely being used for enhancing “its own 3D street level viewing experience” and to photograph businesses so the company won’t have to use Yelp data for the iOS 9 “Points of Interest” feature. They are also likely trying to fix errors in TomTom’s database, which they use as the basis for Maps.

If these points are true, MacRumors pointed out, we should know it on June 8, when iOS 9 is likely to be released to developers for testing.

David Zatz founded Allpar in 1998 (based on a site he had begun in 1993-94), after years of writing reviews for retail trades. He has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. Before making Allpar a full-time career, he was a consultant in organizational psychology. You can reach him by using our contact form (much preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304


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