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Google Shrinks Its Street View Camera to Fit on Any Car Roof

Google once had a clunky camera attached to the top of cars just to record and capture the images needed for its Street View. As the company is celebrating its 15-years of Street View, it’s launched a pilot program that updates these cameras into newer, lighter, and more efficient ones.
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TL;DR
  • Google is upgrading the cameras it uses for its Street View to make them smaller and more efficient.
  • The new cameras no longer require heavy modification for them to be mounted.
  • The cameras will retain the standard 360-degree view.

For those who are wondering how Google gets their Street Views, they actually have cameras roaming different streets to take 360-degree recordings of what the street looks like in person. This initiative was fueled by Google’s idea of providing a close look at different places without having to go there.

Imagine, before Street View, all you could do was Google different places and streets and have no clue what they look like aside from the photos uploaded on the internet. This was before Google introduced its initiative which changed Google Maps forever.

Google’s New Street View Cameras are Lighter and Easier to Mount

While the initiative was great, the cameras were a bit clunky and it’s been a while before they’ve received an update. Google is now upgrading its camera hardware which is capable of getting the same (or better) results but this time, it’s much lighter and somehow more entertaining to look at.

Cars used to be modified in order for them to mount the Google Street View camera but the new camera will have everything needed to operate within its hardware. The camera is not heavy at all and weighs just less than 7kg and was described as “about the size of a house cat.”

Making the cameras smaller doesn’t mean Google is sacrificing the quality of its recordings. In fact, the cameras are in some way an upgrade since they require less modification meaning more cars can equip them.

When it comes to its capabilities, the hardware includes seven 20MP sensors to create 140MP panoramic photographs. The new camera system will also be modular making it possible to fit lidar sensors to help with lane marking and road conditions.

Street View Requires Constant Updates on Its Images

While Google Maps was already successful on its own, Street View changed it forever. With the help of cameras, the new feature allowed users to gain access to what it looks like from a personal POV simulating actually being there.

The Street View was also able to catch some really unexpected scenes from masked pedestrians to rainbows caught on camera. Street View has to be updated every once in a while especially if new developments happen on the road.

In order for Street View to be effective, Google makes an effort to go through each route after a period of time in order to give an update. With the number of drivers using Google Maps as a source of direction, an updated Street View helps ensure they don’t go on a path that’s closed or unpassable.

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