Woven Planet Holdings, Inc., a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation, announced the acquisition of CARMERA, Inc., a U.S.-based spatial AI company, which specializes in bringing next-generation road intelligence to automated mobility at scale. This is the second major deal for Woven Planet in North America, following the April 2021 announcement to acquire Level 5, the self-driving division of Lyft.
Once the deal is closed, the CARMERA team will report into the Automated Mapping Platform organization of Woven Alpha, Inc.. Woven Alpha focuses on exploring new strategic areas for business expansion and incubates several innovative projects such as Woven City and Arene, which is Woven Planet’s open software platform. AMP is a connected crowdsourced software platform that supports the creation, development and distribution of high definition (“HD”) maps―a key enabler for smart and safe automated mobility.
The Woven Alpha team plans to develop AMP to become the most globally comprehensive road and lane network HD map platform, enabling high-precision localization support to automated vehicles. The acquisition of CARMERA will accelerate AMP’s shift from the R&D stage to the next phase of commercialization by bolstering the platform’s engineering team with top experts in the development of HD maps. In addition, it will provide access to CARMERA’s sophisticated map update, change management and IoT sensing technology.
Together, the teams will tap into CARMERA’s ability to successfully update HD maps from crowdsourced, camera-based inputs―a significantly cheaper and faster approach than traditional methods. This will strengthen AMP’s ability to serve a comprehensive set of road classes and features, reflecting changes in lane markings, traffic signals, signs and more in near real-time, and support its future multi-regional commercial launch.
CARMERA will join Woven Planet Group as a wholly-owned subsidiary, expanding the company’s footprint beyond its Tokyo headquarters by adding New York and Seattle offices to its planned offices in Silicon Valley and London.
Comment from Mandali Khalesi, Vice President of Automated Driving Strategy and Mapping, Woven Planet
“AMP has been a key project of Woven Planet since its foundation, helping support its vision of ‘Mobility to Love, Safety to Live.’ We’ve been progressing steadily in bringing safe automated mobility to the passenger and commercial vehicle segments, such as our recent announcements with Isuzu Motors Limited and Hino Motors, Ltd., and with Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation. I’m really excited to welcome CARMERA to Woven Planet. With CARMERA joining the team, we’ll be able to hit the accelerator. CARMERA’s software stack, which is focused on real-time HD map changes and proprietary hardware custom-tailored to crowdsourcing, is an ideal complement to AMP’s mapping efforts. In addition, their world-class experts will allow us to bring forward the execution of key strategic milestones and jumpstart operations in the United States.”
Comment from Ro Gupta, CEO and Co-founder, CARMERA
“Woven Planet and AMP have been highly aligned with CARMERA’s culture and mission from the beginning. Our teams have a common view of the unmet need for ubiquity in advanced mobility data going forward, including maps. Woven Planet, thanks to its software-first automotive DNA, shares our commitment to the end-user―to creating a technology stack that can be used safely and without friction by all stakeholders from data originators through to data consumers. This validates and furthers our founding thesis that richer, faster spatial intelligence is both critical to the next generation of ‘Mobility for All’ and viable at global-production scale. I’m beyond excited for CARMERA to join the Woven Planet organization, as it continues to strengthen its footprint in North America and ramp up its software-first development of mobility innovations.”
An earlier partnership between Woven Planet―under its predecessor organization Toyota Research institute – Advanced Development, Inc.―and CARMERA in Tokyo, Detroit and Ann Arbor, Michigan, laid the groundwork for this deal. Woven Planet and CARMERA participated in collaborative projects in 2018, 2019 and 2020, which proved the companies can successfully develop and update HD maps from commodity, device-agnostic sources, such as commercially available dashboard-mounted cameras.