Apple Acquires GPS Startup Coherent Navigation, Could Announce Big Updates to Maps at WWDC 2015
Apple has acquired Coherent Navigation, a company that focuses on hyper-active GPS, in what seems like an effort to bolster its mapping capabilities. The Cupertino-based company is ill-famed for its subpar mapping competence as witnessed in the mega Apple Maps fiasco in 2012. Neither of the companies shared financial details of the acquisition.
Coherent Navigation brings High Integrity GPS system to the table, something which as the company describes, is accurate within a few centimeters — compared to three to five meters in a vast majority of consumer-grade global positioning systems. Apple could tap on Coherent’s technologies and expertise to improve its mapping product though as you would imagine, Apple isn’t telling exactly what it plans to do with its new acquisition.
Interestingly enough, Paul Lego, former Coherent CEO had joined Apple Maps team earlier this year. The company later brought in co-founders William Bencze and Brett Ledvina as local engineers to the company. Coherent Navigation had previously worked with satellite network operators like Boeing and Iridium. In addition, the company has also worked on autonomous navigation and robotics projects.
That said, Apple could also utilize its newly earned technologies to make advances in iPhone’s GPS capability. The widely successful smartphone, which also pushed the mobile industry forward, isn’t exactly known for its location and mapping features. The latest acquisition shows company’s long time efforts to foster the development in location, navigation and transit businesses inside the company. In the last three years, the company has acquired PlaceBase, Poly9, C3 Technologies, HopStop, Embark, BroadMap, WiFiSlam, and Locationary.
Many technology giants are trying to be the front-runners in location-based services. Most recently, Uber was reported to be interested in Nokia’s HERE maps.
With just weeks left for the company’s developer conference WWDC, and numerous reports suggesting no major features on the card for the forthcoming versions of OS X and iOS, the company could have big updates on Maps to share at the event.