Apple Maps might be tracking you more closely soon. The Cupertino, Calif., company has acquired Coherent Navigation, a developer of highly accurate GPS services, according to reports that surfaced over the weekend.
Coherent Navigation’s biggest technology combines standard GPS satellite information with data from low-Earth satellites owned by Iridium, a voice and data provider. While consumer GPS can be accurate to within three to five feet, Coherent’s High Integrity GPS can be accurate to a few centimeters.
MacRumors first reported that a few of the Bay Area startup’s employees, including CEO John Lego, have been working at Apple since the beginning of the year. Their website, which previously boasted about relationships with Boeing and the Department of Defense, has been taken down.
While this technology would be great for knowing which side of the street you’re on (maybe for transit directions?), high-accuracy GPS could also be a boon for autonomous cars. That would fit well with Apple’s reported plans to challenge Google and Tesla in autonomous driving. According to the New York Times, it wouldn’t be the first time Coherent’s technology was used for autonomous navigation.
However, many of Coherent’s past employees who are now at at Apple are working in location engineering or with the Maps team, according to LinkedIn profiles.