Apple Maps: Web Mapping Service To Be Enhanced By Data-Gathering Drones To Outcompete Google Maps; Indoor Viewing Features Included?

By Andrew Davis, Parent Herald December 02, 05:00 am
The redesigned Apple Map in iOS 10.
(Photo : MacRumors/YouTube)

Apple is reported to use drones to improve its Apple Maps data and compete with the already widely known Google Maps. Since its launch, it has become a platform for Uber and OpenTable, but the Cupertino-based tech giant hungers for more updates such as an indoor viewing feature.

Apple intends on improving Apple Maps data with the use of drones in order to outdo their biggest competition to date: Google Maps. To gather street maps and other necessary information for Apple's web mapping service, the Cupertino-based tech giant has utilized driving vehicles around the world. However, since Apple Maps was launched in 2012, it has received positively negative reviews and backlash.

This was because Apple Maps had a number of graphical errors, not to mention the erroneous details that could lead to danger for Apple users worldwide, as cited in a report by Technology Review. Further, despite their annual updates, users have not quite warmed up to Apple Maps and instead still populated the widely known Google Maps.

As Bloomberg noted that with the use of drones, the Cupertino-based tech giant Apple will be able to improve factual information faster for Apple Maps. The soon-to-be Google Map competition not only will have updated street signs and changes in roads but also will be able to monitor areas that are under construction.

Another feature that Apple intends to add to their soon-to-be-updated Apple Maps is indoor viewing, having acquired in 2015 the start-up Indoor.io. This is to aid users who wander aimlessly in large, busy indoor spaces, such as malls and airports.

Meanwhile, Recode reported that Apple will need the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) approval prior to launching the drones for their Apple Maps upgrade. Currently, it is illegal to fly drones not only in populated areas but also near airports, per report.

However, back in Sept. 21, 2015, the Cupertino-based tech giant Apple had already filed for an exemption just before rules for commercial drones were finalized. The FAA responded in March 22, 2016, granting Apple the go signal to "operate an unmanned aircraft system to conduct data collection, photography, and videography," per documents obtained by Bloomberg.

If the Cupertino-based tech giant does push through with utilizing drones for their Apple Maps updates, then there will be 11 different types of drones, including senseFly from Parrot, three from DJI, and one from Intel's AscTec Falcon 8 drones. But this will definitely be a slow start as reports have it Apple is in the process of assembling authority figures in data collection and robotics.

         

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