by Sostene Costantino
Google plans to improve street navigation on Google Maps with the help of Augmented Reality (AR) technology.
The tech giant is set to release a new feature for its popular app that will make active use of smartphone cameras to help lost travellers find their destination. Camera and AR functionalities will be merged using the technology dubbed Virtual Positioning System (VPS).
The VPS technology is just the latest effort by Google to rethink the use of cameras in modern smartphones. A date for the release of this new feature has not been set yet, but it will most likely be launched in the summer.
At a recent Google conference, the company’s vice president Aparna Chennapragada was highly critical of current navigation systems.
“GPS alone doesn’t cut it,” she said.
Matteo Costantino, a software engineer at Politecnico of Milan, believes Google’s VPS will solve some of the problems of traditional forms of navigation.
“GPS is perfect when dealing with objects already moving in a certain direction, but it comes up short when it needs to guide a person standing still.”
Google bets that its VPS technology will provide a better user experience. The concept behind it is to simulate normal human behaviour.
“VPS is the virtual rendition of how someone would actually navigate,” says Costantino. People will make sense of their surroundings by looking at landmarks around them.
“Instructions like ‘turn right at that monument’ or ‘next to the coffee shop’ are definitely more helpful than random cardinal directions.”
VPS technology will effectively turn the smartphone camera into the person’s eyes. The image will then be elaborated by the navigation system, which will formulate the correct itinerary based on the landmarks it detects. The guidance will then be showed in real time on the screen by using arrows created with AR.
“At the end of the day, VPS technology won’t substitute GPS, but it will integrate with it to provide a more successful navigation.”
Featured Image: reproduced from work created and shared by Google.
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