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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Google to license Stanford's Stanley tech, enhance maps

Although Google Maps might have been called out by name as the best in "Lazy Sunday" (double true), Microsoft's been gaining ground of late by adding lots of trick features to its own mapping site, particularly some nifty simulated 3D views. Well, Google is never one to lie back and take it from the Redmond crew, so it's struck a deal with Stanford to license the sensing technology behind 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge winner Stanley to improve their maps. Stanley, as you probably remember, was a robotic Volkswagen Touareg put together by the Stanford Racing Team that zipped across the Mojave Desert for 10 hours without any human input, winning the Grand Challenge by a hair. Now that same tech will reportedly be used to scan building faces and improve the 3D portions of Google Maps and Google Earth. Details of the deal and how it will be implemented are due to be announced during the Where 2.0 conference on May 29 and 30 -- here's hoping it involves the phrase "army of robotic Google cars."

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