The New Google Maps Cars are Fitted with a Bunch of Sensors and Nobody is Really Sure Why

When you use Google Maps and click on that street view button, a whole world opens up ...

When you use Google Maps and click on that street view button, a whole world opens up to you quite literally as you can check out just about anywhere on earth from the comfort of your internet ready device. It might not be something that you think about often but, on the other end of that street view, there is technology that has to capture it all and recently, that technology has been upgraded so that maybe, when you want to check out what a street looks like, there might be a little bit more information available to you soon! It’s just been reported that Google has upgraded their cameras for the first time in years and the information is, well, interesting.

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Wired.com reports that “The camera system upgrade—the first in eight years—greatly improves the image quality while simplifying the rig. In the main ball, Google is down from 15 cameras to seven, making the whole package a lot smaller. These 20MP cameras are aimed all around the car, and the pictures they take are stitched together into a spherical image for Google Maps…” “there are also a pair of “HD” cameras that face directly left and right. These are dedicated to reading street signs, business names, and even posted store hours; those images are funneled to Google’s cloud computers for visual processing.”

Wired also reports that the cars are fitted with new sensors much like the ones that you’d see on autonomous vehicle prototypes. While they’re not exactly sure why as of yet, we’d venture to think that Google really has something up their sleeves here. Perhaps there will be a day where we see autonomous and continuous mapping from the company.

At this point, it’s all speculation, but the fact that it could be a reality is really downright terrifying to think about. I’m not sure that I’m ready for being watched in 360-degrees at all times by a car that’s driving itself. That just seems like the beginning of a science fiction plot where everything ends poorly for the human race. However, speculation says that the sensors will be used in other ways, perhaps creating 3D maps for a more immersive experience to be used with other upcoming tech products. What do you think of the new and improved Google Maps cars and what could potentially be in store?

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