Google Street Rival “Mapillary” Merges with Amazon’s “Rekognition”

The Swedish startup, Mapillary that aims to take on Google and other applications in mapping the globe through a crowd based outsourced street-level imagery, is taking up a remarkable step towards its platform development. The company has now merged with Amazon, specifically its Rekognition API, to read and detect text in Mapillary’s databank of 350 million images.

Mapillary to Shake Hands With Rekognition

The very first application subsequent from the new feature will be from a large US city (Mapillary wants to keep the city as a secret for now), that plans to utilize the information to build a parking app.

Jan Erik Solem, CEO and co-founder of the Malmo, Sweden-based startup said, “Parking is a super-hot space and [parking information] is one of the most asked-for pieces of data that people want to use Mapillary for.”

“We’re starting with parking signs in the US because parking is one of the biggest issues in towns today, but text recognition will apply to many different types of objects and images, such as building facades.”

Mapillary refers to the research indicating towards the fact that parking problems approximately cost $73 billion in the US—including the gas they guzzle while looking for a spot and fine that they pay for overstaying.

As a provider of data to third parties and for its own services, Amazon has been doing a significant advancement in the world of mapping. For the beginners, the company is a management powerhouse due to its intelligent course-plotting technique around areas to find out the best way to collect, deliver, and distribute goods purchased and offered on its marketplace.

However, that is just one way of how location and mapping are used at Amazon. The company uses map Here and was once rumored to be one of the parties aiming at buying the mapping firm. In the meantime, the company has also built a mapping API, for developers that are keen on building apps that use location service in any possible way for any Amazon device.

For the time being, it mainly means developing apps for Amazon’s up-and-coming range of Echo devices and the Fire tablet. On the other hand, Amazon is willing to explore the other kind of hardware fields like connected vehicles.

To be clear, there is a perfect opportunity for a company like Mapillary that aims in providing practical substitute to Google Maps in context of street-level imagery and to mark itself as a strong partner for Amazon in services like how to route you most efficiently from A to B and indexing and providing information about what is around you.

Solem a computer vision specialist who sold his previous facial recognition company, Polar Rose, to Apple said, “Mapillary itself is an interesting startup that I’ve long thought is one to watch.” Leading the way to build some interesting inroads with potential customers, Solem’s latest venture has raised $24.5 million till date with the help of Samsung, BMW, Navinfo, Sequoia, and Atomico.

One of these includes Here, Amazon’s mapping provider while the others remain to be under NDA. Collectively they are also feeding Mapillary’s images to add to its wider database. However, Solem firmly says that around 80% of its content of 350 million images still have their origin in individuals, similar to Waze. He said, “Everyone either seems to have a need to solve some kind of problem, or a desire to fix maps around the world.”

Without elaborating more on the details, Solem added, “The next iteration of our product will help people fill out coverage. We are building out tools to deploy capture tasking.”