Google Maps, one of the most sought after an app that people all around the world use. It helps people to navigate to reach the destination by giving them turn-by-turn directions. Many people prefer this app, as it is smart enough to help people reach the desired location as fast as possible by avoiding traffic.
In a step forward in this field, Google has announced a new app, which is known as Visual Positioning System (VPS). It is similar to Maps but personal and helps people who prefer to move around on their feet. This app uses the camera from the person’s camera along with backend data to know the exact position of the user and then guide the person through the confusing paths in the urban area.
The AR navigation system recognizes the surroundings and searches and matches with the large database of Google. It uses the images of street, building or other landmarks to recognize the exact location of the user. The app then guides the user through the maze of streets to reach the location they seek.
VPS helps users who prefer to walk to their destination. This safe method is specially designed for people who move on their feet or on bikes or scooters, while Maps is set up for all-wheel travel methods. This intimate app for navigation informs about the user’s exact location.
Interesting and important highlights of VPS as given by the company’s executive are:
- Google has combined the power of camera and computer vision along with street view and maps to help walking navigation.
- The maps would use a #D mode of display such as lit-up arrows and precise directions (distance to walk to reach the destination like ‘jk stores is 50 feet away’)
- The app allows panning of the camera around the streets to highlight points of interest like famous cafes, retail stores etc.
- A digital avatar like a cartoon fox is being used in the app to help guide users.
Many businesses are looking for ways of using this new technology to increase their customer base. The most common one is ‘intermodalics’. This technology can be used on business establishments, requires a camera to give position and orientation information of assets. The key features of this technology are
- Accuracy: The technology has a high range of relative accuracy is regards to position and orientation. Google claims that accuracy is in the range of 5cm to 30cm.
- Low Cost: The app does not require any additional hardware or anchor costs. The maps used for navigation are highly scalable.
- Flexibility: The app is useful in areas where GPS is not accessible. It works well in all environments, both indoors and outdoors.
The intermodalics Visual Positioning System has a camera and IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) at its core. The app will use the sensor’s data to learn and map the surroundings. It would also able to locate itself in the map. When the user revisits the location, it relocates the device instantly on the map. Other apps like GPS, the odometer can help in positioning.
VPS can be of great help for the visually impaired. This audio-based interface could transform how the specially challenged user can make their way through the world. This app can be used in business establishments, schools, warehouse, manufacturing units, or any establishments.