Apple quietly acquires Coherent Navigation for precision GPS mapping

Lindsey Caldwell - May 17, 2015, 6:40 pm CDT
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Apple quietly acquires Coherent Navigation for precision GPS mapping

Apple could be looking to bolster its mapping services; which have a bit of a spotted history, polarizing iPhone users. Apple just purchased the company Coherent Navigation which specializes in High Integrity GPS. This specialized GPS system differences from consumer-end GPS systems in that it uses data from multiple Iridium satellite networks to give incredibly precise locations–accurate within centimeters. Apple is keeping mum on the deal, confirming the deal with a standard, boilerplate response, “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

Although Coherent’s previous specialty is well-known, it’s unclear exactly what plans to do through this new acquisition. According to MacRumors which first reported the acquisition, at least some of Coherent’s employees have recently made the move to Apple, so the acquisition could be for talent as well as their proprietary technology.

Previous incarnations of Apple Maps left something to be desired. Its iOS 6 version had such egregious errors that a misplaced Australian city in Apple Maps sent drivers deep into a national park, needing to be rescued from the desert.
CEO Tim Cook even went so far as to pen an apology letter to Apple fans after its iPhone maps disappointed customers, back in 2012.

This isn’t Apple’s first acquisition of a mapping company. As Apple started to shift to creating in-house mapping technology in 2009, it acquired Placebase. After that, Apple added to its mapping repertoire by purchasing other location-service companies such as Hopstop, Locationary, and Embark. In the past, Apple has also taken to the streets looking for mapping talent, with job postings such as this.

Source: NY Times


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