Autonomous VehicleEmerging Technologies

Ford makes a move in 3D mapping technology, invests in Civil Maps

Published: July 16, 2016 | California, US
Ford Motor Company has recently invested in Civil Maps, provider of 3D mapping technology for fully autonomous vehicles. The company received a funding of $6.6 million, which was led by Motus Ventures, Wicklow Capital, StartX Stanford and Yahoo cofounder Jerry Yang’s AME Cloud Ventures.
Through artificial intelligence and vehicle-based local processing, Civil Maps converts sensor data into map information built specifically to direct fully autonomous vehicles. The company will use the seed investment to accelerate product development and deployment with a number of leading automotive companies and technology partners.
Civil Maps’ artificial intelligence software aggregates raw 3D data from LiDAR (high-resolution laser imaging), camera and other sensors onboard autonomous vehicles and organizes the information into machine-readable maps. The information is vastly more actionable information than today’s mapping systems and requires a fraction of the data storage and transmission for existing technologies.
Sravan Puttagunta, CEO of Civil Maps, said:

Civil Maps’s scalable map generation process enables fully autonomous vehicles to drive like humans do—identifying on-road and off-road features even when they might be missing, deteriorated, or hidden from view and letting a car know what it can expect along its route.

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On the other hand, Ford’s upcoming ventures are clear indicators that the company is looking forward to introduce self-driving cars and is finding new ways to push forward the development. Not only this, last year, the company also appointed Randy Visintainer to head the research department, including the new Palo Alto Research and Innovation Center, where a team of more than 100 researchers, engineers, and scientists are working on self-driving car technology.
According to a statement by Ford (via Fortune):

Ford is investing in Civil Maps as part of its expansion to operating as both an auto and mobility company, the company said in a statement. Investing in and working with Civil Maps gives us an additional way to develop 3D high-resolution maps, which will bring fully autonomous Ford vehicles a step closer to reality for consumers.

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