And Map wars are on! Apple Inc is reportedly deploying drones to improve its own mapping services to take on rival Google Maps. The company has finally realized that drones are the future and are actually capable of covering significantly more ground than its sensor toting minivans. The Cupertino based company is assembling a fleet of the fliers to capture and update map information faster.
The idea here is that if a thing flies, it can cover more ground. Coming to this realization, Apple is preparing a overhaul. These drones would also be able to do stuff like examine street signs, log any changes that are made to the roads and so on. Considering that these drones would be flying all over the place, capturing new information and transmitting it back to Apple all at the same time, Apple could make changes to its map almost in real time.
The company is also working on a couple of new features that include views inside buildings and improvements to car navigation. So, if you see a drone peeking inside your window, don’t panic. Its probably not aliens, just Apple. Although I don’t think that is exactly how Apple will go about collecting data for this future.
Apple introduced its mapping application back in 2012. However, the app really wasn’t something that you wanted to rely upon while driving. Back when it was launched, there was every chance that it would take you to a grocery store if you were dying and needed to reach a hospital. Apple has since then made significant improvements and its mapping systems are pretty reliable. However, they are still not upto Google’s mapping capabilities — which is one reason why Google Maps are so popular on iOS.
As per Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering,
There’s a huge data-quality issue there, and I don’t think we initially appreciated all the kinds of technology we would need to do that on an ongoing basis.
Apple has already apoplied for and gained the Federal Aviation Authority’s approval to operate an unmanned aircraft system to conduct data collection, photography, and videography. The application mentioned drones of companies such as SZ DJI Technology Co. and Aibotix GmbH.
Meanwhile, Apple’s capabilities will be limited even when using these drones. The FAA guidelines restrict flying to daytime hours and required licensed pilots to keep the drones in their line of sight. However, the company will be free from such restrictions in countries that don’t yet have any such guidelines. Meanwhile, a team is being assembled in Seattle that has at least one member from the Amazon Prime team.