Apple has confirmed that a fleet of cars equiped with on-board cameras will be sent out across the U.K. and Ireland to capture images from roads and create a rival to Google’s Street View service.
Between 15 and 30 June, the cars will cover multiple locations in the East of England, Greater London, the South East, the West Midlands, and Ireland. The full list of locations is available here.
The data collected will be used to roll out a Street View service and to improve Apple Maps – some of it will be published in future Apple Maps updates.
“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,” a company spokesman said.
Apple maps got off to shaky start when it launched in 2012, with users complaining that it was littered with geographical errors – from restaurants displayed streets away from their true location to missing train stations.
Apple eventually apologised, admitting that the mapping service “fell short” on its promise to deliver world class products. However, the company’s chief executive, Tim Cook, urged users to keep using Apple Maps so that the company could get the bugs ironed out faster.
Since then, there have been major improvements, with features including place cards for locations, reviews, photos and ratings from services like TripAdvisor.