Tech

Apple to Use Drones to Improve Maps Data

By | Dec 02, 2016 01:45 AM EST
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Apple Maps will employ drones to update its Maps service by including track road changes, street signs, temporary hazards, and construction.

Apple Maps will employ drones to update its Maps service by including track road changes, street signs, temporary hazards, and construction.(Photo : Getty Images)

Apple has announced its plan of using drones to update its maps by adding more accurate data.

The Cupertino-based tech giant has already secured approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to use drones in capturing photos, videos, and other traffic data to update map information faster. Apple’s application stated that it would use a wide array of drones from companies like SZ DJI Technology Co. and Aibotix GmbH to collect the data. The company is using 11 types of drones, and it includes three from DJI, aircraft from Parrot's senseFly, and one of Intel’s AscTec Falcon 8 drones. 

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The guidelines of the FAA state that the flying drones should be made during daytime and require licensed pilots to operate, keeping the drones to their sight. FAA said that Apple agreed to the guidelines. In addition, Apple can fly the drones in the U.S. within FAA guidelines and fly without restriction in countries without commercial drone regulations.

These drones will be used to capture things such as track road changes, street signs, temporary hazards, and construction. The data could be transmitted back to Apple’s team and will be uploaded to the Apple Maps servers. The drones will replace minivans that Apple is currently using, which feature high-accuracy GPS sensors, cameras, and other equipment.

“There’s a huge data-quality issue there, and I don’t think we initially appreciated all the kinds of technology we would need to do that on an ongoing basis,”Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, said.

Moreover, the iPhone maker is developing new features for Maps. It include images of the inside of buildings and car navigation. The new feature will help users to navigate museums, airports, and other public places. For the car navigation, it will aid in changing lanes while driving. 

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