Apple is reportedly using drones to beat Google Maps

Apple is reportedly planning to use drones to improve its Maps app and truly compete with Google Maps, following a problematic launch four years ago. Bloomberg News reports that Apple has been building a team of experts in robots and data capture to utilize drones to quickly update maps. Google and Apple both use fleets of cars and vans equipped with cameras, but drones will allow Apple to examine and monitor roads, street signs, construction areas, and more. Apple is said to have hired at least one employee from Amazon’s Air division to help run its own drone team based in Seattle.

Alongside the drone efforts, Apple is also reportedly developing a new inside view for its Maps app and improvements for car navigation. Bloomberg News claims that the indoor mapping view will let iPhone users navigate through museums and airports. Google Maps currently offers similar indoor features, and Apple has reportedly acquired to help build out the feature for Maps. Apple is also adding better assistance for changing lanes while driving, and both of the new Maps features are said to be planned for a 2017 release.



Apple is reportedly using drones
Apple is reportedly planning to using drones

There is certainly a difference between those two.

C’mon Tom Warren, thought Verge was better than this.

It hasn’t been for a long time, now.

Corporate media are rich enough to have separate "headline editors" that use methods of scientific social media research to make the articles more clickable. This means that Timothy might be not even involved in the title of this article.

As to the essence of it:
1. in quite a number of regions worldwide Apple Map have beaten Google long time ago already in terms of quality/accuracy, let alone in terms of usage on iOS (~750 million users of Apple Maps versus ~300 million for Google Maps).
2. Google is already using drones, so I am not sure how in principle Apple would "beat" them just by very fact of using the same technology.

How did you get those usage numbers? By simply being multiplatform Google Maps might seem to have the upper hand in usage. Also, Apple Maps is crammed down your throat so how many users actually actively choose Apple Maps?

I agree that his usage figures are highly questionable. There is no way that Apple Maps is bigger than Google Maps.

But how is Apple Maps "crammed down your throat"? I haven’t used it in years.

The usage figures are undeniable; ~70% of iPhone owners use Apple Maps (look it up), never bother go download/use Google Maps.

Even if I take you up on those numbers, most are because Apple’s service is the ironclad default service on the iphone. It’s winning by controlling the default setting just like IE back in the day.

Not really; Apple Maps became the leader only two years after its release as the quality of the maps progressed.

Ah, got it. I missed that you were talking about within iOS only. Yes, Apple Maps are way ahead on iOS. No doubt.

Where else could it be?

Apple Maps are not available on Android or elsewhere, and where they are available, they are winning overwhelmingly already for few years as its quality has increased dramatically since 2012. This gives Apple Maps about 750 million users versus 300 million for Google Maps.

Just because it’s only available on iOS doesn’t mean you can’t compare its user base numbers with services that are also available on other platforms. Those types of comparisons happen all the time.

And sorry, but I don’t accept your conclusion that Apple Maps is winning on iOS because of its improving quality. It’s winning because it’s the default. People with a small amount of tech savvy can easily avoid Apple Maps, but most people never bother – not because Apple Maps is great (it isn’t), or better than Google (it definitely isn’t), but because it’s good enough, and it’s the the default.

I truly hope Apple Maps someday reaches parity with Google, but until then I’ll keep avoiding it.

It does not matter what we accept or not, it is just a fact. Apple Maps was behind Google Maps for two years (how come "defaulting" did not help Apple?), by since 2014 is leading. People find the quality of Apple Maps is very well satisfactory. If anything, there are a lot of people who still use Google Maps by inertia; this is just what they used to.

We’re basically saying the same thing. Apple Maps is good enough that people don’t bother do the research and small amount of effort it takes to avoid it.

Then there is nothing to argue on. My point from very beginning was that Apple Maps is already just as good, and in some regions ever better than Google Maps already now (in most cases it is simply matter of subcontractors and licensing local maps from better local providers, not even the features like metro/subway maps that Apple pioneered), so the framing of this news article is weird.

And another strange point of the news is that using drones would somehow help Apple to win against Google, while Google itself uses drones already.

Apple Maps is definitely not as good as Google Maps. I prefer the interface, but the accuracy is subpar, and I live in San Francisco which is supposed to be where Apple is most accurate.

As I wrote, in many regions it is not only just as good, but also better than Google Maps, and I do not even mean innovative things like subway maps or flyovers, but purely map accuracy; but, of course, not everywhere, there are also plenty regions where Google is better (GUI is not important in this case.)

GUI is always important.

I’m glad you love Apple Maps!!! I’m very happy for you. Personally I’m glad there are alternatives easily available.

Have a nice day!!!

I actually do not love Apple Maps as in my area it is not good enough. But my personal anecdote is different from bigger picture where the quality of maps often times in some regions depends on, for example, licensed third-party data.

In some cases those licenses are exclusive, meaning if Google was lucky to sign the fist contract, then theirs maps are better; if not, then Apple’s. This is because secondary local map data providers are significantly worse that the primary local service.

Google and Apple do their own mapping only on the limited number of areas, and they have to license other companies’ data for the most of the maps they have for the world.

Ok… so neither of us like apple Maps. This is one of the silliest and most pointless exchanges I’ve ever had.

If you will re-read my initial comment on this you will see it was not about my personal preferences. I also disregarded the issue of GUI that some think is better in Apple Maps. I only discussed the accuracy/data completeness in general, which can be as good or even better than Google Maps, depending on area.

It can also be much worse, as you and I have both experienced personally.

True, but my point was against the generalized notion that Apple Maps is worse that this news article has presented, which is simply incorrect.

No, it’s definitely way worse.

No evidence to confirm that. At times it better, at times it is about the same, at times it is worse.

View All Comments
Back to top ↑