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Apple reportedly to fly drones to beat Google Maps

APPLE is reportedly planning to use drones and new indoor navigation features to improve is maps app, aiming to compete with longtime leader Google, Bloomberg News quoted sources familiar with the matter as saying.

The tech giant has been assembling a team of experts in robots and data-collection who will use drones to quickly capture and update map information, a major upgrade to its existing fleet of camera-and-sensor ladened minivans, one of the sources told Bloomberg News.

The drones will allow Apple to examine and monitor roads, street signs and construction areas. The data collected would be send to the Apple teams that rapidly update Apple Maps to provide the most up-to-date information to users, the source added.

Alongside the drone efforts, Apple is also developing an indoor mapping view that will allow users to navigate through museums and airports using Apple Maps with their iPhones, another source familiar with the matter said.

To compete with Google Maps's similar indoor view features, Apple has acquired startup to help build out the new feature for its own app and catch Google.

The Federal Aviation Administration has granted Apple approval to "operate an unmanned aircraft system to conduct data collection, photography, and videography," according to documents obtained by Bloomberg News.

Apple's drone initiative is considered as its latest efforts to fight in the ongoing war between tech giants for dominance in mapping following the problematic launch of Apple Maps in 2012.

Apple Maps was introduced with glaring errors like marking a grocery store as a hospital and giving incorrect addresses, as it lacked the technology to quickly take in data from different sources to evaluate and change the digital maps.



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