Apple has been making notable efforts to improve its mapping service since the Apple Maps fiasco of 2012, when it faced ridicule for its mishaps.
Four years ago, Apple ditched Google and launched its own Maps app, which was riddled with inaccurate data, heavy errors and a lack of sufficient map infrastructure. Apple has been trying to rebuild its Maps reputation ever since and has added substantial improvements over the years, but it's not done just yet.
According to Bloomberg, Apple is betting big on Maps with iOS 8 and is planning to use drones to infuse fresh and detailed data to its mapping service.
Apple Maps currently packs a slew of great features that prove it's come a long way since its botched launch in 2012 and last year it even managed to become more popular than Google Maps among iOS users.
Apple's fleet of mapping vehicles have done a great job in collecting on-the-ground data, but the mapping service still has a way to go if it wants to top Google Maps. If Bloomberg's report turns out to be accurate, Apple may have just found the edge it needs to best its rival.
Apple Drones To Improve Maps
As Bloomberg reports, Apple wants to use drones to collect more data on various aspects such as street sign changes, road conditions, construction updates and other such details that cameras mounted on vehicles would have trouble capturing. The data collected by drones would be used to quickly update Apple Maps so it stays up to date with such changes in traffic conditions.
"The Cupertino, California-based company is assembling a team of robotics and data-collection experts that will use drones to capture and update map information faster than its existing fleet of camera-and-sensor ladened minivans," Bloomberg reports, citing an unnamed source familiar with the matter.
Apple already asked the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for permission to fly drones for commercial purposes last fall. The FAA has since issued guidelines for commercial drones and prohibit companies from flying drones over people or buildings.
Apple Indoor Mapping
While Apple Maps should get better and more accurate when it comes to outdoor mapping data with the use of drones, Apple is reportedly planning to challenge Google in terms of indoor mapping as well. The company reportedly aims to allow users to use their iPhones to find their way around large buildings such as museums and airports.
Google Maps already feature indoor maps and adding such an option to Apple Maps would level the playing field, allowing Apple to better compete against its archrival. It remains to be seen whether Apple will employ a more sophisticated indoor mapping solution or simply catch up to Google.
Either way, iOS 8 will reportedly bring notable improvements to Apple Maps.