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Ex-Apple Designer Joins Mapbox Team To Lead AR Work

Augmented reality (AR) technology has several interesting implications for navigation, which has already been demonstrated on a small scale. Mapping services start-up company Mapbox has tapped former Apple employee Avi Cieplinski to head up its efforts in integrating AR into its platform.

Maps powered by Mapbox are found in many places, such as Snap Inc messaging app and the Instacart delivery app. Mapbox doesn’t make its own mapping applications, but instead provides maps for other applications.

Mapbox AR image2

Apple and Google have both shown that they are experimenting with integrating AR into mapping and navigation, providing users with information such as arrows to direct users overlaid on the camera view, or providing AR guides to the local area.

During his time with Apple, Cieplinski worked on the ‘3D Touch’ feature which let users press harder or softer to activate different functions, as well as what become known as the ‘Taptic Engine’ which let users feel a click when tapping the screen, despite the lack of physical button.

Cieplinski commented that the current state of the AR technology is part of what drew him to the role with Mapbox, as he says several possibilities for development and advancement. Cieplinski said he hopes to help software developers better understand how to integrate AR and maps of the real world.

“Augmented reality is a great example of something that is new and very exciting, but also ill-defined, especially when you think about what it’s going to do for regular people,” Cieplinski said. “This is a great company to do that work in.”

Mapbox logo

Last year, Mapbox secured $164 million (USD) in funding from a group of investors led by Softbank Group Corp’s Vision Fund, and has since been using that investment to expand into new areas, subsequently announcing partnerships with companies including Microsoft, Intel and ARM Holdings.

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