Google Street View car in Hyderabad? No, it is WoNoBo

Location:Hyderabad, India

I was taking a walk in the neighborhood today morning when a black colored Mahindra Scorpio went past me. I noticed a box (similar to plastic crates that are used in super markets,approximately 1ftx1ftx2ft) mounted on the top of the Scorpio. I did not pay much attention as I thought it to be some luggage.

Few minutes later, the same vehicle came back in the opposite direction. What caught my attention was a 2ft rod/pipe mounted on top of the box with a camera at the end. I think this is a Google Street View car as I’ve seen street view cars on the net. I never knew that Google is in the process of creating street view maps of India. I could not take the photo of the scorpio as it passed away before I could take out my mobile, unlock the password protected keypad and start the camera.

It was a black Scorpio LX/M2Di as there was no cladding around the car. The vehicle is MH registered, I think google has either outsourced or is managing the India street view coverage from Maharasthra. The camera mounting is very different from the street view cars that are seen on the net and I did not notice any “Google” stickering on the vehicle.  I’m not sure if it is really a google car, but as per my knowledge no one else is using these kind of camera mounted vehicles.

While every street view vehicle on the net I saw was either a sedan or hatchback, the vehicle I spotted in Hyderabad today is an SUV. They probably choose Scorpio as it is a tall vehicle and the camera at such height might be useful in as the traffic in India is too high and there are always vehicles around you blocking the view. The camera mounting seemed to be much lighter than the ones seen on street view cars in other countries. They have probably mounted most of the hardware inside the vehicle as Scorpio is a bigger vehicle. Its just a box on the top, a pipe coming out of the box and a camera at the end of the pipe. The camera also is smaller than the ones on the net. From what I could see from the distance, it is not bigger than 8inch or 10 inch cube and has a lens on four sides.

On searching the net, I noticed some more people have spotted scorpios mounted with cameras in other states, though not in Andhra Pradesh. Now that the vehicle is here, I hope there will be more spotters and we can know more about it soon along with some pics.

It will be great to see street view of India on maps. Hope this is not too far now.

Update : The said car turns out to be of WoNoBo.com, a street view alternative from an indian company for indian cities. The website is now up and running, though I think its way behind street view in terms of ease of use and smoothness, its a good start. So, do not expect google streetview of Hyderabad any time soon.

Posted in Drop Box
  • ravi

    http://www.wonobo.com indian based company street view

  • Sunil

    I have seen an INNOVA maroon colour car with street view equipment yesterday evening near JNTU kukatpally.

    Its almost an year from the last post and if there is still street view capturing is going means how long it will take for whole hyd to be captured…..

    But anyway it would be nice to see HYD in street view on internet

    • vishki

      It may not take so long to complete but they may have for some reason stopped or delaying it. But ya, finally it would be great to explore Hyderabad on Street view.

      As far as I know and read, street view cars in India were all Scorpios and Maharashtra registered. The Innova you spotted, was it a Maharashtra vehicle?

  • vishki

    I spotted the street view car again after 10 days of posting this article, but did not spot the cars after that. Hope they are completing the work fast and the world can street view Hyderabad pretty soon.

    Recently came across an article in news paper that Google street view cars were surveying Bangalore city and Bangalore police has asked google to stop surveying/steet viewing Bangalore until further notice. Google has currently stopped taking pictures of Bangalore and is working on it. They will resume the work after obtaining the clearance from police.

  • goutham

    i have seen it coupl eof days ago in gachibowli. I stopped my car next to him and asked teh guys in teh back seat if its street view car? the guy ssaid YES.. so eah lets see mayb i can see my car in teh street view soon 😉

    • vishki

      Cool. It will be really nice to see our car in the steet view.

      We now have the confirmation that Hyderabad will soon be available for street view.

  • Mahesh Devagirides

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dBICEm8xUo&feature=player_embedded#at=21

    check this out….I saw the same kind of camera…but the vehicle is in black color

    • vishki

      Yup Mahesh,
      The one I saw was almost same, may be the tray/box under the camera is a bit higher by say 8 or 10 inches, other than that it is exactly same. Vehicle was black and MH registered.

      Thanks for sharing that video. Even in this video I could not notice any google stickering. On many street view cars on net, there was google sticker. Not sure if it is google or some other company coming up with similar project. If I remember correctly, Nokia was planning something similar more than an year back.

  • Mahesh Devagirides

    Yep…I’ve seen it a few days ago….there’s a rod on top of the car…..the camera is not much big…..its almost like this http://topnews.net.nz/images/google-street-view.jpg

  • I saw them in Madhapur Hyderabad today. I’ve even grabbed some pics. Not sure if they figured out I was taking the pictures, the car went in the opposite direction after stopping for a while.

    • vishki

      Seems like serious work going on street viewing Hyderabad. Do share some pics Swaroop.