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Apple Confirms Apple Vehicles Collecting Data To Improve Apple Maps

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Apple announced on its site that it is sending cars out on the streets of the U.K., Ireland and the U.S. The move is in line with the company's goal of enhancing the features of its Maps service which will entail gathering relevant data and images.   

To achieve this, Apple is embarking on a mission that involves driving cars all over the world. The company has even created a dedicated website that details its itinerary along with a schedule of when it's supposed to arrive at a predetermined location.

The mission begins on June 15 wherein Apple is slated to visit a number of U.S. states and cities such as New York, Florida and California. Other places that are included on the list are Essex, Birmingham, and London in the U.K.

Apple says that it is "driving vehicles around the world to collect data which will be used to improve Apple Maps. Some of this data will be published in future Apple Maps updates."

Recently, Apple announced at WWDC 2015 that upon launching iOS 9, it will also add a new feature to the Maps app which is no other than support for public transit directions. The feature, which will provide support for subways, buses and trains, will initially launch in more than 20 cities, including New York, San Francisco, Beijing, Berlin and London. Even those who like to move around the city on foot would find the Maps app relevant since it will be easy for them to access underground maps and locate where they are really heading.  

"We are committed to protecting your privacy while collecting this data," said Apple on its site. "For example, we will blur faces and license plates on collected images prior to publication."

Perhaps Apple has reiterated its commitment to privacy as an important lesson it learned from Google. Back in 2007, the latter launched Street View and a year later, it started to automatically detect and blur faces following complaints on privacy.

It's definitely a good start for Apple to finally keep its Maps service on par with other currently available mapping services. However, the company still has a long way to go and may need until around 2017 for it to transition away from third-party data providers such as Tom Tom. Still, the move shows just how much Apple is serious in its desire to beat Google at the mapping game.

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