Back in December of 2016, a report surfaced that said Apple was planning on using drones to help improve Apple Maps.
At the time, nothing could be confirmed, but it looks like Apple is ready to finally make some confirmations on its own. In a report from Reuters on Wednesday, Apple reached out to comment on a story about drones, and confirm that it is indeed working within the state of North Carolina to improve Apple Maps with the use of drones.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation confirmed that Apple is a partner, and it sounds like Apple will be using the period of time as a testing program, where it will be utilizing drones to improve its stock maps platform. The overall program that the original report speaks of is tied to the Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, and improving that federal agency’s ability to set establishing rules and regulations for wide scale drone deployment.
As far as Apple is concerned, the testing phase will help with its own priorities, while also assisting the FAA. In addition, Apple is going out of its way to bring up privacy, and states that it is a top concern for the company moving forward. The footage that Apple picks up with the drones will be corrected when needed, blurring out faces and license plates before the pictures are published:
“Apple is committed to protecting people’s privacy, including processing this data to blur faces and license plates prior to publication,” the company said.”
There is no word on whether or not Apple will be using drones on a wider scale.
Apple Maps is a great service most of the time, but there are still instances, at least in the area where this writer lives, that it comes up a flat. Just recently I tried to use the app to find two locations and it couldn’t find either one — but Google Maps had no issues whatsoever. If drones can help Apple achieve better parity to Google Maps, then that’s great.