In a bid to boost its mapping capabilities, Apple has acquired Coherent Navigation, a small GPS company, for an undisclosed amount. Cupertino-based Apple confirmed on Sunday that it has acquired Coherent Navigation, a Bay Area global positioning company, to boost the company’s mapping technology and services.
Coherent’s areas of focus were High Integrity GPS or GPS, a technology that is far more powerful and accurate than many consumer-grade global positioning systems, it combines signals from the traditional mid-earth orbit GPS satellites with those data from the low-orbit Iridium satellite communications constellation to offer much greater accuracy and precision, higher signal integrity, and greater jam resistance. Coherent made devices for civilian use and was involved in numerous mapping projects with the US government and military.
Apple did not say when it acquired the mapping company or how much it paid for it, but Coherent Navigation’s CEO Paul Lego posted on his LinkedIn profile that he joined Apple’s mapping team in January 2015.
The deal is part of a much broader strategy to move away from reliance on rival mapping service -Google Maps. In 2012, Apple launched a massive map assault when it unveiled its mapping service using in-house technology as well as some licensed from Dutch mapping specialist TomTom.
Founded in 2008 by a team of engineers from Stanford and Cornell, Coherent navigation was a small startup that focused on creating commercial navigation services based on partnerships with US aerospace giant Boeing and satellite operator Iridium. Coherent navigation, which specialized in high-precision GPS, would be the latest in a long line of mapping-related acquisitions Apple has made over the past six years. Apple has been beefing up its mapping portfolio, it snapped up mapping startups Broadmap, and Embark.
Competition for mapping services is getting nasty these days, as some high-flying tech companies vie for more access and control over such technologies. Earlier this year, Uber, a ride-sharing startup, announced its plans to acquire Nokia HERE, the digital mapping arm of technology company Nokia. And more recently, a group of leading German automakers announced plans to bid for Nokia HERE.