After almost 8 years, Google is finally upgrading its Google Street View cars with not only a different design but also some significant technological changes to improve street view mapping for Google Maps. While the vehicles themselves will not be changed, the actual street view rig that collects data is going through a redesign.
Similar to the old camera rig, the new one will also attach to the car roof but with its updated visual design, it should not only look better but with technological advancements over the years, it is also aiming to deliver clearer and higher resolution street images. However, the number of cameras in the rig have now been reduced significantly as it only hosts 7 cameras now instead of the old 15, with each camera hosting a 20 megapixel sensor.
These new cameras and the laser radar sensors will work alongside Google’s machine learning and AI algorithms to work out the relevant street names and numbers when the camera rig takes a picture and adds them to the Google database for use in Maps. The software will also go through numerous iterations in the future as Google is working on improving its AI capabilities even further and have the software recognize even other smaller details like opening and closing timings for stores.
Since the new Google Street View cars will employ Google’s machine learning systems, these cars will also benefit other areas of the company such as the search and Google Assistant functions present in every day devices.
Google is hopeful that all these different cogs in the machine will smoothly work together and one day be able to answer questions like “what’s the name of the pink store next to the church on the corner” if users seek such information. However, such a thing is only possible with in-depth information of all areas and that is where these upgraded Google Street View cars come in.