Apple sends their camera-covered van fleets as they prepare Street View rival

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Photo credit: Apple Insider

Apple is stepping up their game to get in line with the competition, regarding their Maps service. Fleets of vehicles have been sent out on the streets of U.S., U.K. and Ireland, gathering road data and street-level imagery for Apple Maps.

Back in February, there were rumors Apple is preparing an alternative to Google’s Street View after one of their cars equipped with scanners and cameras was seen roaming San Francisco’s streets. While we’re still not sure if the current van fleets are just gathering data for Apple Maps or a new related app, at least the company made it official.

You can see here on their Maps website a section dedicated to their vehicles, where the company presents all driving locations for June 15th – June 30th. What’s interesting is their privacy statement:

“We are committed to protecting your privacy while collecting this data. For example, we will blur faces and license plates on collected images prior to publication.”

This confirms the fact Apple’s vehicle fleets are not just gathering road data, but also imagery and at the very least a Street View-like feature is going to be available in Apple Maps.

Back in 2012 when Apple Maps was launched it went under heavy fire, being critiqued for inaccurate data like showing a fictional airport in Dublin and lacking train stations. Of course, the service went through major improvements since then offering extensive information like locations, photos, reviews and ratings, as well as integration with other popular services like TripAdvisor. It also allows small businesses to add and update their information.

This week during WWDC, Apple confirmed their Maps app will get several updates, such as public transit directions for subways, trains and ferries.

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