Apple is putting together a team of robotics and data-collection experts who will use drones, and “new indoor navigation features”. The big idea is to try catch up with Google, the long-time leader in the mapping field.
The drones can capture and update Apple Maps at a far quicker rate than Apple’s collection of GPS data-collecting minivans, which began appearing in the United States in early 2015. That is, of course, if they are not bought down by US citizens demonstrating their right to arm bears to protect their property. [Are you sure you have got that right? Ed]
Apple wants to bring in a new feature which will let users view the insides of buildings, thanks to its Indoor.io and WifiSLAM acquisitions, and overall improvements will be made to navigation within the app.
Apple wants to fly drones around to do things like examine street signs, track changes to roads and monitor if areas are under construction, the person said. The data collected would be sent to Apple teams that rapidly update the Maps app to provide fresh information to users, the person added.
Apple already filed for an exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration to be able to fly drones for commercial purposes, and was granted approval to “operate an unmanned aircraft system to conduct data collection, photography, and videography”.
Under current rules, Apple’s drone fleet would be restricted from flying over people and buildings, would be designated to operate only in daytime, and could only be flown by licensed pilots.