Apple Turns to Drones to Build a Better Google Maps Rival

Apple will use drones to capture 3D data 7 photos
Photo: PatentlyApple
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Apple is one of the companies that are investing big in building an alternative to Google Maps, and while certain features of Apple Maps are yet to reach broad availability, the future sounds good on this front.
This is because the Cupertino-based iPhone maker seems very committed to improving Apple Maps in the long term, and a recent patent provides us with an early look at how the company plans to expand its coverage across the world.

More specifically, Apple has patented new mapping data collection methods, including not only the classic road vehicles equipped with high-resolution cameras but also backpacks and drones.

These methods have already been used before, and Google itself turned to drones to collect data for Google Maps, but now Apple Maps seems to be aiming for 3D imagery that would help substantially improve the quality of the imagery available for its users.

Truth be told, this is one of the biggest differences between Apple Maps and Google Maps right now. Look Around has always been about high-resolution photos, and the street-level imagery available for Apple users is impressive, to say the least.

Apple wants to use a dedicated device that would be installed either on a car, on a backpack, or a drone to collect this data, and then, using advanced processing, to build 3D imagery that would make its way to Apple Maps.

In fact, 3D maps appear to be the next big thing for Apple Maps, as the parent company has already introduced such an update in the United States and other small regions. With 3D data, the navigation capabilities of Apple Maps are substantially overhauled, especially as they make it easier for users to figure out where they are and see which way they need to go.

Of course, Apple has remained completely tight-lipped on its long-time ambitions for building a better Google Maps rival, so it’s important to keep in mind all these ideas are still in the patent stage right now.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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