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New camera unveiled as Google Street View turns 15

Still Waters

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Posted (IP: Staff) ·

Since launching in five US cities in 2007, Google's Street View cars have been circling the globe, using roof-mounted cameras to map more than 10 million miles of imagery — pictures that have been stitched together to build a visual map of much of the world.

Yet while these cameras have made it possible for Google to capture many far-flung places, they tend to be bulky, heavy, and require a bunch of computing power that has to be added on inside Street View cars.

On Tuesday, Google unveiled a new Street View camera it thinks will make it a lot easier to take pictures of the world, particularly in remote spots such as small islands and mountain tops. The camera weighs 15 pounds (about a tenth the weight of the current camera plus all the electronics the existing one requires); is modular so it can be customized with different sensors such as lidar when needed; and can quickly be connected to the top of a car's roof rack without needing the car to be customized (which will make it possible to connect it to many more kinds of cars).


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