The Short of It

Apple plans to use drones to improve map data

By Lauren AguirreDecember 1, 2016

12/01/16

Drone flying
Drone Pexels

For many years, Apple Maps has struggled to compete with its more successful competitor Google Maps. Now, as Bloomberg News reports, Apple is planning to use drones to gather more accurate maps and traffic data. Currently, the company is using a fleet of minivans with specialized cameras and sensors to collect data from cities all over the country. The drones would be used to capture real-time data and push updates to maps rapidly. To make this work, Apple would have to comply with the Federal Aviation Administration's drone regulations.

Apple has been releasing some improvements to its native maps app in recent months. In 2015, Apple finally released support for public transit in select cities. And this year, the app has an automatic feature that records where your car is parked based on Bluetooth connectivity as well as other small tweaks. But in directions, Apple Maps is still a little behind Google in accuracy and speed.