It has emerged that Apple may be participating in a pilot program, a mechanism intended to allow state, local and tribal governments to co-operate with private sector entities to accelerate safe Unmanned Aircraft System integration, enabling them to operate drones to perform operations such as capturing aerial images to develop and improve Apple maps without restrictions from the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States.
Apple is just one of the 200 companies reported have applied to become part of the program, and it was revealed yesterday that Alphabet, Apple and Microsoft, along with 7 other companies, have been included in the program by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The program will allow for a greater potential for testing, including flying drones at night, over people and beyond the operators line of sight. It has been alleged Apple intends to use the additional freedom to take aerial images in order to improve Apple maps aswell as updating all current content, the company itself does not produce any drones, merely selling those produced by the companies such as DJI and Propel.
“On the @Reuters wire now – Apple is a partner in North Carolina’s drone testing pilot and plans to use drones to capture aerial images to improve Apple Maps. Apple will blur things like faces and license plate numbers to protect people’s privacy, the comapny says.”