Street View to capture British landmarks with off-road Google Trike

By Claire Bates
Last updated at 4:07 PM on 18th May 2009

Google Street View, the controversial web service that has pictured thousands of streets across the UK, is to extend its reach still further with the launch of the Google Trike.

The 18-stone tricycle has a mounted Street View 360 degree camera and a box behind the rider’s seat that contains image software.

Ridden by a super-fit employee, the off-roader will reach areas inaccessible to Google cars. Both the bike and rider will feature the search engine’s distinctive logo.

google trike

Google Trike: The 18-stone vehicle will reach areas the Google cars can’t go

The first pictures will be taken of three famous landmarks as chosen by the public in a project supported by Visit Britain.

Justin Reid from VisitBritain said: ‘The new trike will enable us to showcase even more of Britain’s wonderful destinations and we look forward to some great ideas from the public.’

The trike is currently being tested on the streets of Genoa and is expected to reach our shores by late summer.

‘Depending on what the public vote for, users will be able to virtually tour castles or monuments before visiting – or check out which side of a football stadium they need to be on before leaving the house,’ a Google spokesman said.

The tricycle at the Trevi Fountain

The tricycle at the Trevi Fountain: The new Google vehicle will be used in the UK this summer

Images collected by the trike will be processed and carefully stitched together in a process that can take several months. They will be made available at a later date on Google Maps.

A spokesman said that face-blurring and license plate blurring would be applied to the new images.

Street View launched in Britain in March and covers 25 UK cities. While some lauded it as revealing a fascinating snapshot of modern Britain, others condemned it as a gross invasion of privacy.

Concerns about Street View were raised by campaign group Privacy International, who said the site is a ‘burglar’s charter’ that makes it easy for criminals to check out potential victims.

Meanwhile angry villagers in Broughton in Cambridgeshire blocked a Google Car from taking pictures of their ‘affluent’ neighbourhood. Homeowners can request to have their house removed from Street View.

The public can vote for a landmark on the Google Street View website

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