Apple vehicles equipped with LiDAR sensors on their roof have started collecting street-level data in Japan from this month. As per the Apple Maps vehicle page, the company’s vehicles will collect street data for Tokyo and Urayasu from June through October.
Apple says on the page that it is collecting street-level data to improve Apple Maps, though it fails to provide specific details about how this data could be used for upcoming new features in its mapping service.
Apple is driving vehicles around the world to collect data which will be used to improve Apple Maps. Some of this data will be published in future Apple Maps updates.
There were rumors that Apple is working on a Street View-like service for Apple Maps. As reported in 2015, Apple is apparently working on a 3D street view mode that will also make use of the existing Flyover mode in Apple Maps. By collecting street-level data, Apple hopes to reduce its reliance on its third-party mapping partner TomTom and move to its in-house mapping database by 2018.
Apple did not announce any major new updates for Apple Maps when it unveiled iOS 12 at WWDC 2018 this year. However, it is always possible that the company would announce some major enhancements to its mapping service during its September iPhone event. After all, Apple is already far behind Google in the mapping department and by not announcing any major new update to the service this year, it could risk falling further behind.
Do you use Apple Maps on your iPhone? Or frustrated with its poor data you have completely switched over to Google Maps?[Via Mac Otakara]