The Grand SLAM in Google Maps

AI is everywhere; it is no longer a startup theme anymore.

But AI development is no longer about better convenience or Star Trek ideas coming to life. It is also changing the versatility of household apps. In turn, they are changing the way we live.

One app that will change with AI is Google Maps. New AI advances will change the way we use it.

Intelligent Maps

The Maps app uses simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM). SLAM combines both virtual reality (VR) and AI to create the maps. The AI used in the app is a straightforward machine learning algorithm. Its goal is to create a real-world visual for navigation. It also manages features like calculating the fastest route. 

Although quite smart, the current Maps algorithm cannot process live data. Instead, it relies on models that the company updates. If you spot a Google Car around, that is when the SLAM mapping is occurring.

It is the same algorithm that reads QWERTY codes. Many of the app’s features rely on this algorithm to compute the fastest routes and compare gas prices.

Sensor Difference

Future versions of Maps will use SLAM through the use of Kinematics Modeling. It will allow the app to generate, update and render the surroundings in real time. The algorithm is accurate as it uses real-time data from various sensors. Partial error models improve its accuracy.

An accurate and faster SLAM algorithm will also set new industry standards. It can improve user experience by indicating deviations and dangers in real time.

An improved Maps can also create new opportunities with indoor and seabed maps and reduce response times for emergency services. Logistics companies can avoid congestion and shorten delivery times. Insurers can finetune premiums based on exact locations of vehicles, ships and goods around the world.

It will also change industry relationships. For example, it will pressure Maps competitors like TomTom to install AI ahead of Google. 

For now, we will have to wait and see how SLAM, virtual reality and machine learning will perform. But if it performs well, the future will be different.

Tunnel Vision Danger

It is easy to see how an improved Maps app with advanced AI based on sensors will impact businesses. But there is the danger of having tunnel vision on AI.

A recent Forbes article described CTOs in the U.S. predicting the domination of AI in development. Different business sectors are also studying AI and applying it to almost everything.

In their haste, many companies are overlooking architectural problems. It will create new hurdles down the road that no Maps algorithm will predict.

Paul Matthews is a U.K.-based business and tech writer who writes to better inform business owners on how to run a successful business.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of CDOTrends.

Google Car SLAM mapping.