Menu
Apple deploying camera-equipped cars to improve its maps service

Apple deploying camera-equipped cars to improve its maps service

After months of speculation, the company confirmed that cars will be taking photos in the US, Ireland and the UK

Transit in Maps app.

Transit in Maps app.

Apple has confirmed it's deploying camera-equipped cars to capture data -- including images -- to improve its mapping service.

The cars have been spotted in several U.S. cities over the past few months, leading to speculation that Apple was collecting mapping data to better compete with Google Maps.

"Some of the data" the cars collect will appear in future updates of Apple Maps, the company said Wednesday. Beyond mentioning images, Apple didn't say what additional information the vehicles would collect. Apple also didn't share what it would do with the data that doesn't make it into Maps.

Apple said it will protect people's privacy by blurring their faces and vehicles' license plates before publishing the photos. This suggests Apple is gathering photos from a street-level perspective to offer a feature similar to Google Maps' Street View.

Google, which launched Street View in 2007, began blurring the faces in images used for the service after people raised privacy concerns.

Apple will continue to map U.S. cities and is expanding the program internationally. The cars will appear in England and Ireland later this month, in addition to several U.S. locations, Apple said.

The features in Apple Maps have lagged compared to Google Maps' functionality. For example, this week Apple said it is adding public transit directions to Maps, a feature Google's service already offers.

In 2012, Apple ran into controversy when it swapped out Google Maps for its own mapping software on iOS devices. Google Maps had been the default map app on iOS devices since the original iPhone.

Apple Maps, which appeared in iOS 6, was fraught with problems, including blurry images and misidentified locations. The debacle around Maps caused Apple CEO Tim Cook to issue a rare apology and reportedly led to the ouster of the software executive who oversaw Maps.

Fred O'Connor writes about IT careers and health IT for The IDG News Service. Follow Fred on Twitter at @fredjoconnor. Fred's e-mail address is fred_o'connor@idg.com


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobileApplemobile applications

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel

Reseller News honoured the leading female front runners of the New Zealand channel at the 2018 Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) in Auckland. The awards honoured standout individuals across seven categories, spanning Entrepreneur; Innovation; Rising Star; Shining Star; Community; Technical and Achievement.

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel
Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Microsoft honoured leading partners across the channel following a year of customer innovation and market growth in New Zealand. The 2018 Microsoft Partner Awards recognised excellence within the context of the end-user, spanning a host of emerging and established providers.

Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners
Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Introducing the Reseller News Innovation Awards, launched to the channel at the 2018 Judges’ Lunch in Auckland. With more than 70 judges now part of the voting panel, the new-look awards will reflect the changing dynamics of the channel, recognising excellence across customer value and innovation - spanning start-ups, partners, distributors and vendors.

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch
Show Comments