Google’s Street View team famously photographs all kinds of weird stuff as they drive the world, but Navteq, who basically invented this stuff, just built a mount with seven cameras and 64 lasers to see everything better, in 3D.
Mounted atop a VW Jetta wagon is this crazy apparatus with a 12-megapixel panoramic camera on top and six more cameras pointed in specific directions to pick up signs and other data points. But the best gadgetry – the laser array – is housed inside a rapidly spinning barrel positioned at an angle. By using LIDAR, basically radar but with lasers, they 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.
As for your own personal rig, I sure want one, and my guess is that Google wants one too – if they don’t have it already. [Navteq]