Apple (AAPL) confirmed on Sunday that it had purchased US-based GPS software firm Coherent Navigation in a move to boost its location and mapping capabilities.
Coherent Navigation apparently focuses on delivering its solutions through High Integrity GPS, technology that it can provide a location within a few centimeters versus many consumer-grade GPS systems, which are typically accurate to within three to five meters. The Sillicon Valley startup has also worked on autonomous navigation and robotics projects, as well as projects for the U.S. Defense Department.
According to MacRumors website, which was first with the news, Coherent co-founders William Bencze and Brett Ledvina left the company for Cupertino in the past few weeks, and that the company’s CEO is now listed as working within the Apple Maps team at Apple.
The iPhone maker rarely comments on acquisitions, and has simply released its usual confirmation statement: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”
It is unclear exactly how Apple will use the company’s services and whether there was a specific Coherent technology that Apple was interested in. But as Inquistr.com notes, “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 (GOOG). Given Coherent’s background, it’s safe to assume that…Apple may have brought them on board specifically to develop the iCar’s navigation systems and self-driving capabilities.”
Terms of Apple’s acquisition of Coherent Navigation were not disclosed.