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All right, who guessed 'street mapping' for those mystery Apple vans? Congratulations

Sorry 'self-driving car' folks, better luck next time

Apple has revealed that its weird camera-mounted vans, seen roaming the California, are being used to gather images for a street mapping app.

The Cupertino giant wrote on its website that it will be taking vehicles mounted with cameras around Europe and the US to gather street-level snaps for Apple Maps for iOS and OS X – pretty much like Google Street View.

"We are committed to protecting your privacy while collecting this data," Apple said in the notice. "For example, we will blur faces and license plates on collected images prior to publication."

The announcement puts to rest the debate over just what Apple was doing with its mysterious camera-equipped vans. Some industry pundits had suggested that the vans were part of a secret project by Apple to develop a self-driving car that would use the cameras to align itself on the road.

With the mapping move confirmed, Apple now plans to begin the process of driving around Europe and the US, gathering the images for the street view option. The shoot will take place Stateside, and in Ireland and the UK, between June 15 and 30.

In the US, Apple will be driving around parts of Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Texas, Utah, and Washington state.

In Ireland, Apple will map the greater Dublin area. For the UK, street mapping will be done in Essex, Greater London, Kent, and Birmingham. ®

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