But whereas these cameras have made it attainable for Google to seize many far-flung locations, they are typically cumbersome, heavy, and require a bunch of computing energy that must be added on inside Road View vehicles.
On Tuesday, Google unveiled a brand new Road View digital camera it thinks will make it loads simpler to take photos of the world, notably in distant spots akin to small islands and mountain tops. The digital camera weighs 15 kilos (a couple of tenth the burden of the present digital camera plus all of the electronics the present one requires); is modular so it may be personalized with totally different sensors akin to lidar when wanted; and might rapidly be linked to the highest of a automobile’s roof rack without having the automobile to be personalized (which is able to make it attainable to attach it to many extra sorts of vehicles).
As with the present Road View digital camera, it consists of seven particular person cameras, every with a 20-megapixel sensor, so it might probably take 140-megapixel panoramic photos.
Final week, Google gave CNN Enterprise an unique take a look at the brand new digital camera on the firm’s Road View storage in Mountain View, California, together with a tour of the array of cameras and autos Road View has used through the years.
The digital camera is cute — even for a surveillance gadget. It is concerning the measurement of a cat or small canine, and its top-most half is blue, with a white circle surrounding every of its giant digital camera lenses (which appear to be huge bug eyes).
Some cut-outs within the plastic make it seem, from sure angles, to have a tiny mustache. The majority of its rectangular physique is silver-colored, with two black handles for straightforward carrying (which, naturally, additionally appear to be tiny arms).
Maria Biggs, who leads the workforce that designed and constructed the brand new digital camera, mentioned her workforce was attempting to make the digital camera so transportable that it may very well be shipped by itself, relatively than with an entire automobile, to totally different places the place it might then be linked to vehicles. With the intention to do that, the electronics that usually have been match into the backseat of a Road View automobile have been match into the brand new digital camera. Biggs mentioned that as a way to shrink the digital camera’s electronics, her workforce designed energy and processing boards smaller than the scale of her hand. It may be powered by a automobile, or linked on to a battery.
The Road View workforce is testing the brand new digital camera close to its headquarters in Mountain View, and plans to begin utilizing it broadly subsequent 12 months.