Apple Using Drones to Improve Apple Maps


Four years after its release as part of iOS 6, Apple Maps is still suffering from data and design issues, and Apple is working hard to improve it to gain a competitive edge over Google Maps. One big component of this is tracking situational changes and improving data over time, and it seems that Apple has found a potential solution in drones.

Mapping and constantly updating data is a complicated and time-consuming process, especially if one is relying on vans with sensors and user reports. All of those road changes and new buildings require the efforts of thousands of employees in India and other fast-changing countries to keep data up to date.

However, drones can make this much easier, as they can be operated remotely and are far more mobile than ground vehicles, and can collect data, take photos, and record videos without having to worry about traffic or crowds. Apple plans to buy drones from DJI and Aibotix to begin improving its methods.

In addition, Apple is making a big effort to provide indoor mapping, a feature that Google Maps does not have. Two acquisitions vital to this effort are and WiFiSlam. Indoor maps will allow users to locate themselves within buildings using a combination of smartphone sensors and W-Fi signals, as satellite GPS data might not be reliable in an indoor environment. If Apple succeeds,, getting lost in a mall or accidentally wandering into the wrong part of a natural history museum might be a thing of the past.