Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is reportedly carrying out tests on mysterious camera equipped cars, in the Bay area of California as part of a new project according to Apple Insider. Minivans thought to be leased to the giant hardware company have been spotted with X-shaped frames mounted on the luggage racks.

Mapping Tests

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is also thought to be carrying out tests on LiDAR sensors, which were spotted lingering on the front and the car’s rear. LiDAR sensors use a laser-based technology for creating high-resolution maps and are believed to form an integral part of self-driving vehicles especially those in development at giant search engine company Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL).

The use of minivans may suggest one thing; Apple is into the self-driving cars business although many people remain skeptical on the same as the company has not yet confirmed the same. Analyst Rob Enderle has already aired his belief that the Cupertino-based company is into the self-driving cars business.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) may also in a way be preparing to begin its own mapping program similar to the one being carried out by Google’s Street View data collection, according to some sources. The cars have also been spotted with disc-shaped antennas fitted to the roof with sensors hanging on each of the rear wheels. This can only imply that Apple is also monitoring and measuring movement indicated by the rotation of the wheel.

It is not the first time that similar vehicles have been spotted on the roads with the mysterious camera equipment. Last year September, an identical White van was spotted with licensed plates in the California area with the same equipment. The recent vans were spotted with 12 cameras suggesting that Apple was carrying out tests for mapping. Google’s generation Street view cars have in the recent past been spotted with 15, 5-megapixel CMOS sensors.

The discovery does not come as a surprise as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is known for carrying out ambitious plans for its mapping service as it looks to compete with Google.