There's a mysterious Apple car driving around the Bay Area

A mysterious camera-equipped van spotted in the Bay Area.

Apple may have a new Google-like project up its sleeve.

Several Dodge minivans mounted with what appears to be camera equipment and mapping sensors have been spotted driving around the Bay Area. And according to a report by the local CBS affiliate KPIX the vehicles are registered to Apple.

The equipment on top of the minivans looks similar to the equipment that Google uses to capture images for its mapping system.

According to a report by Apple Insider, the roof-mounted contraption appears to have light detection and ranging (lidar) sensors on the front and back of the vehicle. Lidar uses lasers to measure distance and is commonly used in making high-resolution maps. The sensors are also a key part of the sensing system on autonomous vehicles. However, it is unlikely these Apple minivans are self-driving cars, according to the report.

Apple's push into mapping has been an uphill battle. Unlike Google, the company lacks a street view system that plays a big part in Google Maps' level of accuracy.

Perhaps these Apple Dodge Caravans, though, will begin to change that.

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