In a bid to improve the navigation abilities of its ‘Maps’ app, Apple is planning to use drones to get more information for its product. According to a Bloomberg report, Apple finds that drones will be able to update its maps faster than its existing fleet of cars that are fitted with cameras and the company has filed for an approval with FAA in order to allow its fleet of drones to be used for ‘commercial purposes’.
Apple is reportedly putting together “a team of robotics and data-collection experts” who will be working with the drones to update its Maps product. Bloomberg says Apple will be using these drones to examine street signs, and will be able to monitor under construction areas and track changes on roads.
According to Bloomberg, on Sept. 21, 2015, Apple filed for an exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly drones for commercial purpose and this year on 22 March, FAA granted approval to Apple to operate an unmanned aircraft system to conduct data collection, photography, and videography.
The company is committed to abide all the guidelines for commercial drone operation which includes restricting flying to mostly daytime hours and requiring licensed pilots to operate the equipment while keeping the drones in their line of sight. It will also use a range of drones sold by companies such as SZ DJI Technology Co. and Aibotix GmbH to collect the data as per the application filed by it.
The drone initiative is a further continuation of the effort, Apple is doing in improving its Map application since its launch. Till date, Apple has taken many initiatives in the improvement of the app like updating data, adding a mode for navigating public transit systems, improving search results, and opening the platform to outside services such as Uber ride-hailing and OpenTable restaurant reservations.
Apple is also improving its indoor mapping services that will help people to navigate airports, and other high-traffic buildings like museums using iPhones. It has acquired startup Indoor.io last year to help bring its indoor mapping project to market, according to another person familiar with the matter.