Apple joins special US drone program in bid to improve Apple Maps [u]

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 9
Apple is reportedly one of a number of major corporations hoping to participate in a range of drone tests beyond those normally allowed by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, an initiative the company hopes will lead to better Apple Maps images.

A DJI Mavic Pro.
A DJI Mavic Pro.


An impending pilot program will involve night flights, flying over crowds, and going beyond an operator's line of sight, Reuters reported. Sources told the agency that Apple, Airbus, Amazon, Intel, and Qualcomm are among 200 or more companies wanting to join.

Apple is looking to improve Apple Maps, likely through high-resolution images captured for the app's Flyover feature. As usual, the company is operating the project with an eye on privacy, saying it will blur sensitive subjects like faces and license plate numbers.

Later on Wednesday the U.S. Transportation Department is due to announce 10 winning local governments for the tests. Candidates have partnered with various businesses, with Apple linked to North Carolina.

Senator Dean Heller of Nevada has claimed that Reno is one of the winning governments, working in tandem with Flirtey, a firm developing drone delivery of defibrillators and Domino's pizza.

A U.S. official told Reuters that other winning projects are tackling areas like agriculture, package delivery, drone flights near airports, and pipeline and environmental monitoring.

While Apple isn't normally associated with drones apart from selling ones by companies like DJI, the company has likely been using them for some time, reportedly to rapidly update Apple Maps data. It also has a fleet of Google-style minivans for reconnaissance, but these operate far slower.

Conceivably Apple could also want to monitor facilities, deliver packages, or even develop its own drones, but there have been no rumors to that effect. The company's main interest in autonomous vehicles is thought to be its self-driving car platform -- and even then its goal is believed to be partnership with one or more ridehailing firms, rather than an "Apple Car."

Update: Updated with state affiliation information and expected deployment details.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,873member
    The self driving car folks are very intelligent but their pattern indicates 2-dimensional thinking. 

    Mr. Ive --- Z+10,000 meters! 
    edited May 9 lolliver
  • Reply 2 of 14
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,528moderator
    Whomever wishes to provide the best smartphone camera must consider drones.

    I envision a future where you arrive at an adventure destination, like Volcano Island in Lake Taal, Tagaytay, Philippines (where I was hiking last week).  You jump on your iPhone and request a drone to video your hike.  The drone is dispatched from a nearby vendor location (not unlike vendors who rent scooters or jetskis) and it flies autonomously to your location, communicating constantly in the background with your phone.  An app lets you choose a number of video options for how the drone will capture your hike.  Then you just go hiking.  After you’re done the drone service provides you your video via the cloud, completely mixed with a soundtrack of your choosing.  Plus the raw footage If you want to do your own edited version.  You never have to fly the drone, carry it, charge it, etc.  The right drone with the right capabilities and power capacity is provided based on the experience you’re undertaking. If I’m Apple I’d envision such applications and want to have a hand in delivering that future.

     .
    edited May 9 jony0
  • Reply 3 of 14
    seanismorrisseanismorris Posts: 467member
    When space trash wasn’t enough... now we have sky trash.
    lkruppmac_dogpatchythepiratecornchip
  • Reply 4 of 14
    nunzynunzy Posts: 662member
    My guess is that Apple has extensive R and D in the drone sphere already, and is poised to blow it up with innovation.
  • Reply 5 of 14
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,481member
    I look forward to shooting a drone out of the sky to get a free pizza. :smile: 
    LukeCagepatchythepiratepropodcornchip
  • Reply 6 of 14
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,294member
    Story on the Today Show this morning about the rising abuses committed by drone pilots who are nothing more than common peeping toms and voyeurs. If something isn’t done about these types the public will turn on the technology with a vengeance like they did with Google Glass and other intrusive, privacy destroying gadgets. Reports abound about drones sneaking peaks into windows and backyards. Just do a basic search on YouTube to see what these perverts are doing. So far few have been prosecuted or convicted for invasion of privacy because the law is once again behind on the technology. Is it trespassing if you intentionally fly your drone over my privacy fence and video my 16 year old daughter?  One scumbag did plead no contest to voyeurism, a misdemeanor. 
    edited May 9 LukeCage
  • Reply 7 of 14
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,042member
    nunzy said:
    My guess is that Apple has extensive R and D in the drone sphere already, and is poised to blow it up with innovation.
    ROTFL...Probably not the best choice of words.
    LukeCagenunzySpamSandwich
  • Reply 8 of 14
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 566member
    When space trash wasn’t enough... now we have sky trash.
    Space trash, light pollution (@ night—for those of you who weren’t paying attention). Now we’re going to inject physical objects into the environment of all creatures that fly. Fucking wonderful. All because we want videos of our vacations in the Philippines. /s

    what insanely ego-centric animals we have become.
    propod
  • Reply 9 of 14
    LukeCageLukeCage Posts: 159member
    While Apple isn't normally associated with drones apart from selling ones by companies like DJI, the company has likely been using them for some time, reportedly to rapidly update Apple Maps data. It also has a fleet of Google-style minivans for reconnaissance, but these operate far slower.

    A fleet of drones to quickly go scout new businesses, construction of new housing or new streets would be an amazing thing for Apple to do for it’s Maps
    edited May 9 patchythepirate
  • Reply 10 of 14
    blastdoor said:
    The self driving car folks are very intelligent but their pattern indicates 2-dimensional thinking. 

    Mr. Ive --- Z+10,000 meters! 
    Khan!!!
    blastdoor
  • Reply 11 of 14
    macapfelmacapfel Posts: 479member
    That is fantastic! A company first delivering a couple of double cheese pizza – followed by a free defibrillator. 
    radarthekat
  • Reply 12 of 14
    nunzynunzy Posts: 662member
    lkrupp said:
    Story on the Today Show this morning about the rising abuses committed by drone pilots who are nothing more than common peeping toms and voyeurs. If something isn’t done about these types the public will turn on the technology with a vengeance like they did with Google Glass and other intrusive, privacy destroying gadgets. Reports abound about drones sneaking peaks into windows and backyards. Just do a basic search on YouTube to see what these perverts are doing. So far few have been prosecuted or convicted for invasion of privacy because the law is once again behind on the technology. Is it trespassing if you intentionally fly your drone over my privacy fence and video my 16 year old daughter?  One scumbag did plead no contest to voyeurism, a misdemeanor. 
    I don't think that Apple is going in that direction with their drone program.
  • Reply 13 of 14
    Whomever wishes to provide the best smartphone camera must consider drones.

    I envision a future where you arrive at an adventure destination, like Volcano Island in Lake Taal, Tagaytay, Philippines (where I was hiking last week).  You jump on your iPhone and request a drone to video your hike.  The drone is dispatched from a nearby vendor location (not unlike vendors who rent scooters or jetskis) and it flies autonomously to your location, communicating constantly in the background with your phone.  An app lets you choose a number of video options for how the drone will capture your hike.  Then you just go hiking.  After you’re done the drone service provides you your video via the cloud, completely mixed with a soundtrack of your choosing.  Plus the raw footage If you want to do your own edited version.  You never have to fly the drone, carry it, charge it, etc.  The right drone with the right capabilities and power capacity is provided based on the experience you’re undertaking. If I’m Apple I’d envision such applications and want to have a hand in delivering that future.

     .
    That's an interesting concept if it were possible to reduce the size/noise of the drones that other posters have mentioned. There are plenty of ways to do that though. I do like the way Google is moving with their Clips camera - stick it somewhere, let it record everything and intelligently send you what it thinks are the best moments. Seems like it's very much a work in progress but the idea is right - just give me the edited footage so I don't need to worry about ruining the moment to take a selfie.
  • Reply 14 of 14
    Eric_in_CTEric_in_CT Posts: 47member
    blastdoor said:
    The self driving car folks are very intelligent but their pattern indicates 2-dimensional thinking. 

    Mr. Ive --- Z+10,000 meters! 
    Brilliant!
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