Apple Plans on Using Drones to Improve Apple Maps; Working on New Indoor Navigation Feature


In a bid to improve its Maps service, Apple plans on using drones and other new indoor navigation technologies to collect more data for Apple Maps. The company is hoping to catch up to Google Maps with this move.

As per sources of Bloomberg, Apple is assembling a team consisting of data-collection experts and robotics that will be using drones to capture and update details on Apple Maps. This will be significantly faster than the company’s current method which involves sending minivans laden with cameras to cover every inch of a city. Apple plans on using drones to capture details about street signs, track road changes, and monitor areas that are under construction.

Apple had applied for an exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in September last year for this. The company was granted an approval by the body in 2016, but with certain restrictions like the drones being operated by licensed operators to which it had agreed to.

Additionally, Apple is working on new features for Apple Maps, including the ability to see inside buildings and improved navigation experience. To further boost its indoor mapping technology, Apple acquired an indoor mapping startup called last year. It had also acquired a company called WiFiSlam in 2013 that was known for its indoor navigation technology.

Apple had first introduced Apple Maps in 2012. Replacing it with Google Maps, the company received a lot of criticism for the inaccurate data its mapping service displayed. Over the years, while Apple has taken a lot of steps to improve Apple Maps, the service still remains far behind Google Maps in terms of its accuracy and coverage.

[Via Bloomberg]