Will Autonomous Vehicles Disrupt the Map App Industry?

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 Since overtaking its older rivals seven years ago, Google has dominated online mapping in the U.S. But as self-driving cars steer closer to reality, competitors may close in.Google Maps now has more than 1 billion users worldwide. In August, its mobile app drew 102.9 million users in the U.S., well ahead of its closest competitor, Apple Maps, which has 62.9 million U.S. users, according to analytics firm comScore.People will always need to know the basic route from point A to point B. But autonomous cars create new mapping needs, and it’s unclear what role Google Maps will play. The maps demanded by the robot cars will not only track routes but also intricately monitor the environment in 3-D, so that the vehicle can differentiate between walking pedestrians and cones in the street.RELATEDThe Hardest Test for Google’s Autonomous Vehicle May Be Coming UpCompetition Grows in the Map App ArenaRedesigned Google Maps Highlights Cities’ ‘Areas of Interest’“The challenge is that somebody else comes along, as soon as you have fully autonomous cars, the novelty of having Google Maps wears off,” said Patrick Moorhead, president of Moor Insights & Strategy. “It no longer becomes unique as it once was. That’s the biggest challenge.”The self-driving car project, now a separate company under Alphabet, has been running for seven years and logged more than 2 million miles, testing out autonomous vehicles in areas including Mountain View. The project builds its own maps. Meanwhile, Google Maps remains a division of the original search business and continues to provide directions for driving, public transit, walking, biking and ride-hailing companies.Jen Fitzpatrick, head of Google Maps, declined in an interview to comment on Google Maps’ involvement in self-driving cars. “Right now our product does not include self-driving cars as a mode of transportation,” she said in a follow-up email. “But who knows what the future will hold.”

Source: Will Autonomous Vehicles Disrupt the Map App Industry?

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