Apple is working with the state of North Carolina to test out drones to improve its Maps service. In the state, the Transportation Department has authorized drone testing that usurps the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) limits, allowing for the drone experimentation such as the one Apple is partaking in.
Over the past few years, Apple has made giant strides in Maps. It’s actually quite usable now, but it still lags behind Google Maps, and Apple has struggled to close the gap. This new drone experiment is one of the avenues it is taking to improve its mapping solution.
The drone program is collecting “both aerial and ground images around the world to improve Apple Maps,” an Apple spokesperson told Reuters. If the program goes well, Apple will look into expanding the program to more states to collect data.
Given the sensitive climate we live in regarding privacy, Apple is taking certain steps to protect information it collects from the drone footage. All of the data collected will see faces and license plates blurred out before it is ever publicly published.
It’s not entirely clear when the benefits of this program will actually find their way into Apple Maps for users to use, but it’s nice to hear Apple continuing to make progress on its service.