Apple Buys Super-Accurate GPS Firm Coherent Navigation

Many Apple users have not forgotten the Apple Maps debacle back in 2012, as the Inquisitr reported at the time. The release of the flawed iOS 6 Apple Maps saw so many fascinatingly silly failures it spawned a series of blogs, cartoons, and collective amusement from major media outlets, as well as some genuinely dangerous snafus, such as Apple Maps directing drivers across an airport runway, as reported by BBC.

Apple is determined not to make the same mistake again. According to the New York Times, Apple has acquired super-accurate-GPS startup Coherent Navigation today, a small Silicon Valley firm focused on using high-accuracy global positioning, combined with traditional GPS with data from Iridium's Low Earth Orbit (LEO) communication satellites, to pinpoint locations from space within inches of accuracy.

Apple remains tight-lipped about the acquisition, confirming that they have acquired the company but saying nothing about their motivations.

"Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans."
Still, with their flawed track record on navigation systems combined with Google's general dominance of the smartphone mapping arena, Apple has a lot of catching up to do, and Coherent Navigation marks another of many location technology acquisitions for Apple over the last six years.

Coherent Navigation was founded in 2008 and has already acquired a fairly impressive pedigree, working on high-precision navigation systems, autonomous navigation, robotics, and projects for the Department of Defense. While the company's website is apparently down or currently non-existent, their LinkedIn page indicates that the firm only has 1-10 employees. While that information may be outdated, it still marks their achievements as fairly impressive, especially when a company like Apple, which employs almost 100,000, decides they're worth the acquisition.

Of course, the Coherent Navigation purchase might not just have to do with Apple Maps, or even with that program at all. Rumor has it that Apple is attempting to develop a self-driving electric car, once again aiming to compete with Google. Given Coherent's background, it's safe to assume that if the rumors are true, Apple may have brought them on board specifically to develop the iCar's navigation systems and self-driving capabilities. Coherent's background in autonomous navigation and robotics would be invaluable, and their acquisition by Apple lends a lot of weight to the rumor.

Regardless of Apple's plans, it is certain that this acquisition is part of their overall strategy to challenge Google for dominance. Apple users still tend to rely on Google Maps. Google is certainly the big player in the push for the self-driving car, and Apple would very much like a bigger slice of their pie across the board.

[Photo by Mario Tama / Getty Images]