Apple's Self-Driving Lexus RX450h Spotted In Traffic With Aftermarket Gear

Apple's modified Lexus RX450h spotted in traffic 1 photo
Photo: Bloomberg
Apple got the DMV’s permission to test self-driving vehicles on public roads about two weeks ago.
It did not take long for the Cupertino giant’s fleet to get spotted on the street. Fortunately for us, journalists saw it, and the Lexus RX450h was carefully observed in slow moving traffic.

As you can see in the photo from Bloomberg, whose editors saw this SUV leave a facility that belongs to the American tech giant, the Japanese model was equipped with many aftermarket sensors.

The mentioned devices were applied to the body as sleek as one could, whenever possible, but this is clearly an example of function over form. Please remember that this is an early prototype of a self-driving car, and nobody expects the finished product to have all of those sensors out in the open.

It is evident that no government authority would allow cars with a bar full of tools on their front end potentially jeopardize the safety of pedestrians.

Furthermore, nobody would buy a vehicle that looks like this, with all of the sensors out in the open. Similar prototypes were employed by Google when it tested its fleet of Lexus and Toyota hybrids.

If you are curious about an inventory of the additional equipment fitted to this SUV, it appears that Apple went for the top-of-the-line LIDAR from Velodyne, which works on 64 channels.

It also has at least two radar sensors, along with several cameras. All of the products were so easy to identify because they were off-the-shelf parts, an unnamed industry expert told Bloomberg.

The state of California has let 30 companies test self-driving vehicles on its public roads, and legislation is in work to allow the sale and use of this technology when it is ready for consumers.

Until then, these are prototypes with experienced people behind the wheel who are prepared to take control in case something goes wrong.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram
About the author: Sebastian Toma
Sebastian Toma profile photo

Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories