Apple Confirms Mapping Cars
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has officially confirmed its latest step in taking on rival Google Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL). On Wednesday, Apple announced that it will soon be deploying a fleet of camera-equipped cars to collect data in Ireland, England and the U.S.
The cars will be acquiring images that will be included in future updates to Apple Maps, likely in a form similar to Google Maps’ Street View feature.
When Will Apple Maps Cars Be In Your Neighborhood?
Apple’s press release included a loose schedule of the areas its cars will travel and the dates on which it will be collecting data. Apple lists 15 U.S. cities that could see Apple Maps cars from June 15 to June 30, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, St. Louis and Boston.
Privacy A Top Priority
In its statement, Apple assured residents that privacy is a priority when it comes to the data collection process. “We are committed to protecting your privacy while collecting this data,” Apple explains.
“For example, we will blur faces and license plates on collected images prior to publication.”
Privacy was a major issue when Google first launched its Street View feature in 2007, and the company began blurring faces and license plates the following year.
Long Way To Go
Apple Maps has been faced with harsh criticism in the past, as the service has fallen well short of Google Maps in many key areas.
Adding a Street View feature is only one example of the ways Apple is scrambling to close the gap between Apple Maps and Google Maps.
For example, Apple recently announced the addition of public transit directions for a dozen U.S cities, a feature that Google Maps has long been providing for thousands of different cities.
According to 9to5Mac, Apple Maps is also years away from eliminating its reliance on third-party data sources, such as TomTom.
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