Here is Apple's self-driving car prototype


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Awkward, nerdy-looking, can’t really see why anyone thought the design was a good idea…

Yep, it’s official; this is a fedora for cars.


The rack looks like it could nicely accommodate a couple of surfboards. Double-plus feature!


Missile launcher on the roof has me mesmerized.


The bezels are too large.


Aside from the fact that one might have to sit on one ass cheek while holding the antennae simultaneously for it to work, the LIDAR setup is kick ass!

The data scanned could possibly make Google Street View look like child’s play.

For example:

Add true color and voila!


My thoughts exactly. Get rid of this bloody car and give me a small plane with that gear, a couple of enthusiastic scientists, pilots and (FFS!) someone GET ME THE FLIGHT PERMITS for, basically, everywhere. I’ve been really, really envious for this setup for a while now. I’d like to see more of this kind. The data those rigs produce are a scientific gold mine. You hit a streak of knowledge every time you go prospecting!



and then it snows…


Not in California.

Not yet.


I hear FEMA’s hiring :slight_smile:


Oh, good, it’s about time someone started working on self-driving cars. Hooray for Apple! Innovating their way into the future!


It’s no surprise they’re being quiet about it. LIDAR isn’t something you can make super small and keep it accurate. Google knew this too. Too bad Musk won’t take a hint and accept that you can’t expect cameras alone to control a car even if it’s for just keeping it in its lane on the highway.


Just wait for it. I bet there’s potential. And this 3D face scanning device apple will put in people’s pocket is going to make some engineers in other companies (and hackers) quite creative.


It’s more of an engineering problem than a software one. Camera based driving systems aren’t good at figuring out velocity, LIDAR gives you that easily but are bulky. So the sensors and lasers need to get smaller without losing accuracy. If they lose accuracy then you introduce more risk than is warranted. And honestly, I think it’s a solution in search of a problem. If you want driverless transportation there’s trains and buses where the driver is responsible solely for driving and commuters are just commuting. The fact we here in the US are so married to cars is kind of ridiculous considering how few of us live in rural areas that would require one. If you’re in a city, you shouldn’t have to need a car to get to work. It should be just a common thing that we fund public transit and ditch the risky metal boxes of death.


I’ve been in a department where people used human-transportable LiDAR units to map tree trunks in forests (with economic backgrounds), others used camera-derived 3D models to map oil palm plantations, others again worked on reflective LiDAR measurements of photosynthetic activity to assess plant health, again others were working on measuring plant functional traits with smartphone cameras.

There is no such thing as a solution in search of a problem, as far as I can see. There are just buggerances of physics and funding which (until further notice) prevent the combination of a solution with a problem.

I have no interest in self-driving cars or phones which unlock via 3D IR dot matrix scanners. But I want this tech to get small and cheap to answer real-world scientific questions, like how the fuck does a real-life rainforest develop in detail.


At least it doesn’t look like the car is into low-budget Dalek Cosplay.


When it comes to using LIDAR to make automated cars when we have buses, trains, and other mass transit options it is a solution in search of a problem. The solution to congestion, crappy commuting times, and the like is to live closer and promote public transit. Instead of promoting car ownership we should be promoting living closer to our work or at least promote remote work where it works best. Automobiles are for folks that really need to get around, all is could easily be within a walking distance.


I totally agree– the inordinate attention given to personal self-driving vehicles is absurd. They’re very sexy technology, but ultimately, they’re more of a high-end consumer good than a solution our transit problems. All the forecasts for how soon we have autonomous vehicles are insanely optimistic, especially since we don’t even know if it will require a true, general AI. Besides, they wont solve the traffic problem if everyone still rides around in their own car. Meanwhile, we could be investing in dedicated, comprehensive bus systems (routes that aren’t shared with cars), and working on reorganizing our cities around thoughtful transit rather than the ad hoc setup we have now. Hell, a closed-system autonomous bus route makes more sense than a lexus SUV for everyone. I’m just so very disappointed in the continued belief that we’re going to free-market our way to utopia…


I’m really, really not interested in automated automotives, but for the sake of your argument: LiDAR isn’t the solution in search of the problem of to many cars. Noone who ever tried to put any kind of sensor on a car is looking for a solution to congested traffic, or, come to think, natural ressources eaten by individual mobility. Its just not something in the automotive sector is interested in. Otherwise, they would just have closed down decades ago. So, no problem there, no solution needed. Now, hand me that LiDAR rig on a friggin’ plane, or make it small enough to fit on a suitcase-carriable drone, and give me enough server power to analyse the data and I’ll tell you how ecosystem engineers like ants and termites shape South american and African savannas, and how much carbon is either sequestered or released due to their activity.