It’s undeniable that the long-rumored Apple car was over-hyped, seemingly from the get-go. What reportedly started out as a clean-sheet approach to the car of the future is now probably just Apple’s attempt at getting in on the tech side of the self-driving wave, and now its car may have been spotted.
We finally, kind of officially learned that Apple is in fact working on some sort of self-driving car technology earlier this year, when California regulators announced that Apple had been granted an autonomous vehicle test permit.
The permit included some details, like that Apple could test three 2015 Lexus RX450h equipped with its various cameras and sensors. Now, oddly enough, the co-founder of another self-driving startup called Voyage thinks he’s spotted one in the wild.
It’s difficult to determine exactly what’s stacked on top, but it’s a lot of cameras, and probably a good mix of lidar and radar.
The car was caught testing in the San Francisco Bay area according to Higgins, via Roadshow. A few things are obvious; the first is that this may be an updated showcase of Apple’s tech, as this is the newer Lexus RX body style and not the one mentioned in the DMV’s Apple permit. The second is that this Lexus with a roof rack fit for a cheap sci-fi movie about the evils of the surveillance state looks nothing like the Fiat Multipla Apple was rumored to be taking inspiration from at one point, and that’s a shame.
But then again, Apple seems to have wised up and realized that building cars is hard and there won’t ever be a truly original Apple Car, despite the desperate coverage of some in the media. The real question is what make’s Apple’s system different, and of course, which companies Apple plans to shack up with.
I still genuinely wish they had taken a crack at a full car. Why worry about profit margins when you can guarantee your project will put every existing automaker on skates, no matter what you come up with? Wouldn’t that just be fun to see?
Quick edit to add this tweet, which was a response to the one above: