The self-driving-car company wants you to wonder what big plans it's about to announce next week.
After wiping its Instagram account of more traditional posts, the self-driving-car startup company has posted images of nine geographical coordinates.
The locations line up with the technology the company is currently using.
Cruise Automation will unveil its actual plans on the night of January 21 in California.
Next week Cruise Automation will be hosting a "Moving beyond the Car" event in the San Francisco Bay Area. Ahead of the shindig, the self-driving company has decided to get all "Dharma Initiative" on its Instagram account by deleting all its images and replacing them with nine posts with various longitudes and latitudes. Are these the locations of an upcoming expansion or destinations for the world's nerdiest scavenger hunt? Actually, it's the locations of some pretty important devices and technologies that Cruise Automation will use to power its mobility plan.
Thanks to the power of Google Maps, we can plug in the coordinates and determine the destinations posted by Cruise Automation and with a little research figure out why the company believes these areas to be important. The center image with the streak of light is the location of the event in San Francisco. That's an easy one. After that, it gets a bit odd but not too difficult to unravel.
The top-left location which has “innovation is our true North” as its caption is near the industrial district in Xinmi, Zhengzhou, Henan, China. This location is related to the creation of the compass which was invented during the Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD).
The top center is a building in the Welsh town of Merthyr Tydfil. That structure is essentially right on top of the world's first locomotive run which occurred back in 1804. Which jibes with the caption, “don't just stay on track.”
The third location and its caption "disruption drives us forward," is the auto museum of Karl Benz. You might know him as the creator of the first real automobile.
The fourth location is the Thomas Edison Museum in Menlo Park, New Jersey. It's where Edison worked on his lightbulb design and other inventions. The caption “it's brighter where we're going.” It's a bit on the nose, but all of these are sort of like that.
The sixth destination (remember the fifth location is where the event will be held), tells us to “cut through the static.” The coordinates drop us on the Foundation Guglielmo Marconi in Italy. Guglielmo Marconi is known for his work on long-distance radio research and is credited as the inventor of the radio.
Destination number seven is the Kleinrock Internet History Center at UCLA, the birthplace of the Internet. Which explains the “never stop searching for what's next,” caption.
When we zoom in on location eight we find ourselves at the Palo Alto Research Center (a.k.a. PARC). The “it's time to hit refresh,” might have to do with the center's history of changing the technology world over and over again. They are credited with creating ethernet, modems, laser printing, the mouse, personal computers, the list goes on and on.
And finally, the “a new beginning is calling,” destination is the New York Midtown Hilton. It’s supposedly where John Lennon wrote "Imagine.” More importantly, it's the location of the first hand-held cellphone call on April 3, 1973.
It's a fun little bit of marketing by a company that is about to announce to the world its future plans. The company with investment from Softbank, GM, and Honda has been testing its self-driving fleet in the San Francisco Bay Area for years. On Tuesday we'll find just what all those miles driven have produced and the future of its mobility plans.