Apple deploys map imaging vehicles in Vietnam

By Tuan Hung   February 15, 2024 | 07:39 pm PT
Apple deploys map imaging vehicles in Vietnam
A person uses Apple Maps on a mobile phone in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Luu Quy
U.S. tech giant Apple is deploying vehicles equipped with LiDAR imaging devices in Vietnam to capture data for its new maps.

The vehicles will begin plying across the country from Friday as part of a global process of rebuilding data for Apple Maps.

The company said when the system is updated Vietnamese users could get the maps app with improved navigation capabilities, rich details and more accurate information about locations.

The use of imaging vehicles will also enable Apple Maps to feature the "Look Around" function similar to "Google Street View" in Vietnam.

Currently the feature is only available in some major cities in the U.S., Japan, Europe, and Singapore, allowing users to preview real-life images of streets, buildings and squares without physically visiting the place.

Apple's specialized vehicles will be equipped with external LiDAR imaging devices along with computer systems, iPhones and iPads.

It is not yet clear what type of vehicles will be deployed.

In the U.S., the company mainly uses customized Subaru Impreza and Lexus cars, according to AppleInsider.

In areas where the vehicles will have difficulty traversing, like narrow alleys, the company will use mobile systems such as devices attached to backpacks to collect surrounding data.

In Vietnam too, the imaging data will adhere to Apple's privacy principles, blurring license plates, faces and others before uploading to the system.

Apple Maps in Vietnam currently have basic features such as satellite view, traffic information, temporary road closures, and 3D simulation.

But the navigation feature cannot function when connected to Car Play.

In Vietnam, Google Maps remains the popular option since it has been familiar for long and offers rich functionalities.

Google Street View in Vietnam is not directly done by the company but by a third party.

Apple Maps service first appeared in 2012, replacing Google Maps as the default app on iPhone, iPad.

Data was initially acquired from third parties and was so poor that CEO Tim Cook had to apologize to users.

In 2018 the company began to fully renovate this app.

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