Rumor: Apple will use drones to beef up its Maps app

Apple plans to use drones and new indoor navigation features to improve its Maps app, according to Bloomberg, quoting unnamed “people familiar with the matter.”

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, the article adds. 

Apple’s drones will examine street signs, track changes to roads and monitor if areas are under construction, according to Bloomberg. The collected data would be used to provide fresh information to users of the iOS and macOS apps. Apple is also developing new features for Maps, including views inside buildings and improvements to car navigation, Bloomberg says, quoting yet “another person familiar with the efforts.”

If the article is correct, this is the company’s latest efforts to improve its Maps app. For example, in May Apple announced plans to establish an iOS App Design and Development Accelerator in Bengaluru, the home of India’s startup scene. Now the Cupertno, California-based company has announced the opening of an office in Hyderabad, India, that will focus on development of Maps for the Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.