Nokia's NAVTEQ-Bing mapping car spotted in Surrey, England. Sporting lasers?

This should make some people excited. In Surrey, England Nokia's NAVTEQ car loaded with cameras and sensors on top, was spotted driving around, presumably mapping the terrain.

This is cool for two reasons: one, it says Bing on it, clearly showing the close partnership between Nokia and Microsoft and two, this looks like Nokia may be engaging in some type of NAVTEQ roadview, analogous to Google Street View. The car actually looks a lot like what Google uses to drive around photographing streets in a 360 degree panorama.

Going one step further, it reminds us of this Gizmodo story from 2010, where a similar vehicle had "a mount with seven cameras and 64 lasers to see everything better, in 3D" resulting in the ability to "...scan everything within view, capturing 1.2 million points of data every second. The result is all kinds of terrain data that is not possible using just cameras". Well, that sounds pretty awesome.

We know Nokia and Microsoft have big plans for NAVTEQ but this could mean some Google-level and beyond maps for Windows Phone in 2012. Sign us up!

Update: Yup, looks like it's part of Bing Streetside:

"Microsoft is partnering with NAVTEQ, the leading global provider of digital map, traffic and location data, to collect Streetside imagery. NAVTEQ will use their expertise in efficient data collection to staff and operate the collection vehicles and manage data logistics. Microsoft will apply industry-leading image processing and privacy protection techniques to create data products for both Bing Maps and NAVTEQ commercial customers."

Thanks to Yousuf K., who tipped us the photos using our app!


Reader comments

Nokia's NAVTEQ-Bing mapping car spotted in Surrey, England. Sporting lasers?


Neet ,I always found BING was lacking behind , but this seems to show that they working hard on being up to par with google...Now if they could refine the search engine just a LITTLE, it be perfect :)

Exaktly what I was thinking when I saw the writing about the laser!Nokia 3D maps beats them all. I only wish they would come to our city...

Ok, the possiblity of having lasers on this is COOL. Just last night I saw a show where they were mapping volcanos in Ethiopa using something that looked almost exactly like this (just not mounted to a car). What they were doing is using lasers to get the 3D map, then they could layer the pictures that were taken at the same time over the top of the 3D map to produce an amazingly accurate and detailed map. They move the unit to different points to make sure they had a complete map, kind of like driving around would give. :)Googles streetview is nice, cool even; but I am wanting (hoping) to see some improvements come to Microsoft's StreetSide and combining lasers with photos could be a critical improvement. Bing it on!!EDIT: I just went and looked at Bing Maps and sometime this summer, they went down our street, I can tell it was this year, fairly recently because we did some landscaping this year that shows on the Streetside of our nieghborhood, and streetslide is looking better all the time.

I can confirm this. I saw the car drive past my house in Worcester Park, Surrey about a month back.The guy went flying along the road. I knew it was for BING as it had BING on it like the one in the pic.

Current equivalent of StreetView in Bing sucks big time (at least in London) - the stitches are very noticeable and houses look like they all falling down. Plus there is no way to look around - you can only scroll along the street. Too car-centered for Europe.

I am noticing something. I know that your talking about, I think that what you are seeing, is like first generation and yes, the stiching is bad, but then I am seeing what appears to be something new and the stitching is clean. In my area it seems that they have both versions. If you use the little blue guy at the top of them map, that is only the first version that is not very good. If you use the Map apps link to search for streetside, that seems to be the new version, as I am looking at London in the new version.Edit: finding that not all streets in London have been driven.

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I saw a Google Street View car the other day and I was tempted to run it off the road... Very tempted >:)Anyway, definitely good to hear they're hard at work on it.

I will never forget how freaking angry I was when MS pulled the 3d view from Bing Maps, and then short time later, put up the obvious BANDAID called street slide. Anyone with any faith left in MS, (me) knew that something as good or better was in the can. Hurry the F up on this stuff, and thanks for the effort.

I like how everyone is like finally now that NAVTEQ is "working" with Bing even thought Bing has been using NAVTEQ for a while now. Go to www.bing.com/maps and look at the copyright in the bottom right.

Too late. Bing is mediocre in Europe and will probably remain mediocre in Europe for at least 5 to 10 years.Fine with it... If only I were not stuck with such unusable Bing as exclusive provider on my WP7 device.