There have been reports on and off of the Google Street View cars being seen on Indian roads in the last few months. Being a big fan of Google Maps, I have more or less kept on top of this on the Interwebs. Most of the reports so far have been from up-north, namely Delhi with one person even having shot a video. That link seems to go no where anymore.
Driving back home this evening, I caught a Maruti Suzuki Alto with a weird contraption mounted on it roof, that immediately made me want to investigate. I quickly drove up to the Alto and started taking pictures of the Google Car and everything that was mounted on it. I have some very decent images of the Street View camera that is mounted on the car. It is not the same as the ones that have been used in the West. Have a look at these pictures and I will elaborate in the visible differences after the break, and also why this is not just some other thing that looks like the Google Street View car.
If this looks a little different to you, that’s because it is. Instead of the single module of 7 or 8 cameras that we have seen in the Street View cars in the West, this actually seemed to have 5 lenses at the very top covering 5 different directions. Just below those there is some other gadgetry that seems to be present in the usual Street View cameras as well. There is also a measurement device attached to both the rear wheels, probably to measure the distance traveled.
Well there you have it. How do I know that this is the Street View car and not just some other car with a freakish camera on its roof? I spoke to the driver, because luckily they were taking exactly the same route that I was taking! The driver and navigator confirmed to us that this was all Google’s doing and that there were at least 5 other such cars on Mumbai roads. The driver also thought that my wife and I worked for Google and said that in case we wanted more drivers for “Navigation”, he had a rich supply. We told him that we didn’t work for Google (sadly), and were just interested in the car. Finally we took a nice photo of the car and the navigator and went away.
Nice end to a long day, is all I can say. Lets hope Street View is available soon and then followed by Turn by Turn Navigation on our Android devices.
[box type=”shadow”] Update: Those who have been saying that Google would only use cars marked with google logos all over the car. This isn’t true! Google uses unmarked cars in most countries except where they are ordered to use clearly marked cars. Italy is one of these countries. Most of Canada was photographed with unmarked cars.[/box]