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Google Street View trike arrives in Toronto

With a three-wheeled pedi-cab equipped with digital cameras, Google is capturing images in locations inaccessible by car for Street View.

The tricycle allows Google to visually-map hard-to-reach spots around the world, where a car could never drive.

It will allow for increased coverage of Canadian cities since Google Street View went live in the country in 2009. The images should be available by the end of the summer.

“This is intended to get us off the streets,” Mike Pegg, senior product marketing manager for Google said. “There’s lots of great places in Canada – parks, trails, university campuses – that a car can’t get to, so this bike and the people that ride it get us on there and let you have a look.”

A Google employee, clad in company gear, pedals the trike snapping images along the ride in pedestrian-only areas. The contraption, equipped with nine cameras and GPS, weighs about 300 lbs. Collecting images can take between six to eight hours.

The tricycle is “constantly taking still pictures that later get stitched together into the panoramic picture you see on Street View,” Pegg said.

Children often mistake the tricycle for an ice cream truck, he said.

Launched in 2009, the trike has cycled through Stonehenge in the United Kingdom, the World Cup venues and Legoland.

In 2010, Google introduced the Street View Snowmobile, mounted with a camera to capture images on the Whistler Blackcomb Ski Slopes for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.