Apple’s Project Titan self-driving test car has a lot going on up top


When one self-driving technology entrepreneur highlights the efforts of another company working on autonomous vehicles, you pay attention: That’s what happened with Voyage co-founder MacCallister Higgins, who tweeted a short video of the top of Apple’s ‘Project Titan’ test Lexus SUV, outfitted with a suite of sensors and autonomous hardware.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the car and its roof array, but it’s probably the best up-close look at it we’ve had, and it’s also being seen through expert eyes instead of through those of nearby residents who happen upon one in the wild. Higgins says, for instance, that the large rooftop assembly probably actually contains “the majority of the compute stack,” as opposed to having that stuffed in the trunk like it is in many other vehicles.

Higgins also said that the front and back both have 6 LiDARS, and an observer noted that putting the radar array on the roof is also an interesting choice.

The benefit of this design might be that it’s relatively plug-and-play, requiring very little in the way of in-vehicle modifications, beyond bolting the roof rack to the vehicle. That would also make it easy to switch test cars theoretically in the future, and it could have an impact product-wise in terms of gearing towards modularity in design so that this can be adapted to many purposes and vehicles as an aftermarket add-on.