Apple quer usar drones para melhorar os seus mapas

Não é novidade nenhuma que os mapas da Apple não são grande coisa, mas isso pode mudar brevemente.

Para resolver os problemas do seu serviço e poder competir com o Google Maps, a Apple quer usar drones equipados com câmaras para sobrevoar os locais a mapear. Dessa forma espera-se que consigam fornecer informações mais actualizadas e mais correctas aos seus utilizadores.

Apple filed for an exemption on Sept. 21, 2015, from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly drones for commercial purposes, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg News. At that time, exemptions were required to commercially operate drones. In a response dated March 22, 2016, the FAA granted Apple approval to “operate an unmanned aircraft system to conduct data collection, photography, and videography,” according to one of the documents.

Apple’s application told the FAA that it would use a range of drones sold by companies such as SZ DJI Technology Co. and Aibotix GmbH to collect the data.

Official guidelines for commercial drone operation were instated in August, restricting flying to mostly daytime hours and requiring licensed pilots to operate the equipment while keeping the drones in their line of sight. Apple committed to these guidelines, according to the FAA documents.

The current rules restrict commercial drones from flying over people and buildings, potentially limiting Apple’s initiative for the time being. Apple could meanwhile fly the drones in the U.S. within FAA guidelines and fly without restriction in countries without commercial drone regulations.

Apple has hired at least one person from Amazon.com Inc.’s Prime Air division to help run the drone team, one of the people said. Prime Air is Amazon’s initiative to quickly deliver packages via drones. The Apple team is being assembled in Seattle, the same city as Amazon’s headquarters, the person said.

Apple Said to Fly Drones to Improve Maps Data and Catch Google [Mark Gurman e Alan Levin, Bloomberg]