Apple is putting a fleet of vehicles on roads in the U.K. and Ireland to photograph streets and collect data that will improve its Maps service. The vehicles have already been spotted in the U.S., and they all but confirm Apple’s plans to launch a Google Maps Street View rival.
“Apple is driving vehicles around the world to collect data which will be used to improve Apple Maps. Some of this data will be published in future Apple Maps updates,” the company explains on its website, as noted The Guardian.
“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.”
These are the same precautions Google takes with its own Street View imagery, and it all but confirms Apple is working on a similar service. The company doesn’t currently use street-level photographs in any other part of Maps.
You can find out where Apple’s cars will be on its Maps vehicles webpage, which lists driving locations from June 15 through June 30. In the U.K., you’ll spot them in London and Birmingham, while in Ireland they’ll be around Dublin and Cork.
Apple is yet to announce its own Street View service, but one of the biggest improvements it will be making to Maps in iOS 9 is the introduction of transit directions, which will help users navigate some of the biggest cities around the world by public transport.