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A vehicle used by Apple to capture images for Apple Maps has been spotted in Italy, with a pair of operators reportedly fixing a problem with the on-vehicle camera system in the middle of one of its journeys on Tuesday.
Like other systems like Google's Street View, Apple regularly sends vehicles out to areas to capture images for Apple Maps, as well as to confirm and update road layouts. The project has been underway for a couple of years, with Apple keen to bolster its first-party map coverage instead of relying on third-party services.
One of the fleet of Apple Maps vehicles was spotted in Italy on Tuesday, reports CityRumors.it, stopped on the side of the road in Roseto degli Abruzzi. The brief stoppage saw two vehicle operators exit the vehicle to clean the lenses on the camera array perched on top of the car, before continuing their route.
It is estimated by the report that it would take Apple approximately three months to map the road system for the region of Abruzzo, with the first signs of the changes potentially going live in July. While this may be generally believed as the correct timeframe relating to Google Maps additions, Apple has only so far added enhanced detail to its Maps in California and Hawaii.
Since 2015, Apple has been sending vehicles across the United States as well as Croatia, France, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. It was revealed on Monday Apple would be sending its vehicles across all 10 provinces of Canada between May and November, with the data arriving "in a future product update."
Apple has also resorted to using non-vehicular means for capturing data, with the use of teams wearing backpacks containing a compact version of the camera system for pedestrian areas and cycling routes.