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.
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:
- 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)
- 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
- 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], DÃºn 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."