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Apple Maps cars spotted in Malaysia: Look Around, improved maps coming soon?


KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 17 ― Right on time, Apple’s Image Collection cars for Apple Maps have started filtering into Malaysian traffic for, well, image collection. The cars, which were planned to enter our roads in November, have been spotted by a number of people, including our own social media head Levania in USJ 20 this morning. These white second-generation Subaru XVs are hard to miss — they’re emblazoned with the “Koleksi Imejan Apple Maps” script and the Image Collection website along the side.

But the most obvious hint to their purpose is the massive sensor pod hoisted on the roof, which presumably carries not only the cameras for the Street View-style Look Around feature, but also lidar scanners to help developers build more accurate maps. Unlike Google’s Street View cars, these Subarus also carry sensors on the rear wheels, likely to measure distance. This shows that Apple isn’t just collecting imagery for Look Around but also using the information gathered for map improvement.

The company says the data from its Image Collection initiative will help provide broader road coverage and pedestrian data, along with more precise addresses and more detailed landcover. Apple’s schedule for its vehicles roaming around the streets of Malaysia are as follows: • Selangor ― November 10, 2023 ― February 29, 2024 • Kuala Lumpur ― November 10, 2023 ― February 29, 2024 • Putrajaya ― December 1, 2023 ― December 9, 2023 • Negeri Sembilan ― March 1, 2024 ― March 19. 2024 • Perak ― March 1, 2024 ― April 4, 2024 • Melaka ― March 21, 2024 ― April 4, 2024 • Penang ― April 8, 2024 ― April 27, 2024 • Johor ― April 10, 2024 ― June 6, 2024 • Kedah ― April 30, 2024 ― May 30, 2024 • Perlis ― June 1, 2024 ― June 5, 2024 • Pahang ― June 11, 2024 ― June 24, 2024 • Terengganu ― June 27, 2024 ― July 8, 2024 • Kelantan ― July 16, 2024 ― July 22, 2024 • Sabah ― January 2, 2024 ― March 22, 2024 • Labuan ― March 27, 2024 ― April 5, 2024 • Sarawak ― April 6, 2024 ― July 25, 2024 So far, Apple appears to be restricting its data collection in Malaysia to vehicles only.

Globally, the company does employ people carrying backpacks — also equipped with cameras and lidar sensors — to provide pedestrian data on streets without vehicle access, but this neither mentioned to us nor listed on its Image Collection website. If you are worried about your face appearing in these images, don’t be: Apple told us it will protect people’s privacy when conducting its ground surveys with measures such as censoring faces and number plates in Look Around images. This is similar to what Google does with Street View imagery.

Apple announced a rebuild of Apple Maps back in 2018 in an attempt to better compete with Google Maps, having been stung by the service’s disastrous launch in 2012 . So far, the company has updated its maps in cities across Hong Kong, Taiwan, the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Singapore, New Zealand and more, with new countries being added every year. Given the sheer scale of the rebuild, however, don’t expect the Malaysian maps to be updated that soon.

― SoyaCincau.

From: malaymail

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