Apple has long since been flagging behind Google on certain services, a big one being their maps. But now they hope to change that, using drones in order to improve their maps and services faster, and with more updated information.
Apple and The Quest For Better Maps
Apple Maps has long since been struggling for relevance against the more accurate Google Maps. But even with its advances in recent years, Google remains often behind on updated roads, new constructions, and route changes caused by delays and closed avenues. Especially in smaller cities and towns that are expanding.
Because of this difficulty in remaining up to date, Apple wants to improve their own ability to update roads. That means a better system than driving through the streets every once in awhile, and instead keeping a view of changes as they happen. What better way to do that than from the air?
A Secret Project
This is not an official announcement from the company. On the contrary, it is coming from an unnamed source in the company that has been opening up to media sources under the condition of anonymity. According to this source, who claims to be working on the secret project, Apple has been commissioning R&D on drones and other robotics that will be implemented for this – and possibly many other – purposes.
One rumor that has been filtering around since the news leaked is that Apple may use drones someday for shipping uses. Amazon has already cornered that particular advancement, though more for the sake of publicity and proof of concept than regular use. Apple has a development department and acquisitions that make it better placed to turn such drone use into a more productive feature.
While Apple is refusing flat out to comment on this leak, it seems to have been verified already. Back in September 2015, the company reportedly filed for exemptions from the Federal Aviation Administration for the use of drones in a commercial capacity. That seems to point to their intentions to begin at least testing their use, even if their purposes weren’t clarified in the forms.
In the paperwork, Apple names a couple of companies who will supply them with drones for use. Showing that they have done more than just filed for exemptions just in case; they already have partnerships running.
None of this is that surprising, as their Apple Maps application has been horrible since its launch in 2012. I live in Salt Lake City, Utah, a growing and medium-sized city with a major international airport and a great deal of tourism. Apple Maps is nearly unusable here. It will be interesting to see how drones improve it…Google isn’t much better.