Subaru Impreza “Ulysses,” 2013 Mac Help Apple Build a Better Google Maps Rival

Apple Maps car 5 photos
Photo: Screenshot from Google Street View
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Apple has overhauled Apple Maps earlier this year with refreshed data and new features, but the Cupertino-based tech giant just doesn’t want to stop here.
Instead, what the company wants to do is make Apple Maps a solid alternative to Google Maps not only in the States but also elsewhere. And to do this, Apple needs better map data all over the world, as it’s a well-known fact that Google Maps is already covering most of the planet.

At the core of Apple’s map arsenal seems to be a fleet of Subaru Impreza cars that are internally referred to as Ulysses. According to Apple documents obtained by 9to5mac, each Impreza is equipped with the latest-generation high-resolution cameras that feature Zeiss lenses, LiDAR scanners, as well as a seven-year-old Mac Pro computer that’s responsible for processing all the data that is captured.

The Mac systems store the processed data on four SSDs, each with 4GB of storage, which according to the internal documents, is just enough for one week of imagery. Once the drives get full, they are shipped to Apple’s offices using UPS.

The entire configuration is powered by EyeDrive, a system that is controlled with an app installed on an iPad. The tablet is typically operated by the passenger, while the driver just goes on a route that hasn’t been scanned before.

As it turns out, Apple’s Subaru Impreza only goes out for capturing Apple Maps data during perfect weather conditions for obvious reasons. Apple has made the quality of its maps content a priority, so the cars can only be driven when clear photos are possible.

The iPad also tells the driver where to go, and the daily operations start in the morning when the sun is at 30 degrees and stop in the evening when the sun returns to the same 30 degrees angle.
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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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