Engadget reports that Google has been awarded a patent to provide panoramic imagery as the background for the display of driving directions. From the patent abstract, “In other embodiments, the panoramic image is replaced and/or complemented with one or more of 3D models, full-motion video, full-motion video of 360 degrees images, and live feeds from video cameras to provide enhanced driving directions.”
This is certainly going to add to the demand for mobile LiDAR and other sensor systems as Google strives to make the nav screen view more like the real world. At the same time this 3D information will be of high value to their driverless vehicle project. I was recently told that Google has 5,000 people in their photogrammetry department.