Ford Invests In 3D Mapping Startup Civil Maps For Fully Autonomous Vehicles

Posted: Jul 16 2016, 8:08am CDT | by , in News | Cars & Vehicles

Ford Invests in 3D Mapping Startup Civil Maps for Fully Autonomous Vehicles
  • Ford wants its Share in AI for Self-Driving Vehicles

Ford wants its rightful share in AI that is meant for self-driving vehicles.

A setup in California is using AI-inspired mapping software for self-driving cars in its repertoire. It recently got a donation of $6.6 million from a few investing companies. One of these was Ford Motors.

Ford is busy road-testing its high technology on the thoroughfares of California and Michigan. The technicians of the company are looking closely at the sensors and other odds and ends in the self-driving vehicles.The AI mapping startup is titled Civil Maps and it is now all ready to engage in some valuable research mainly funded by Ford Motors.

“Civil Maps’ pioneering mapping technology is building the backbone of our fully autonomous future,” said Jim DiSanto, managing director of Motus Ventures.

“By creating and managing live semantic maps of all the roads in America, the company is providing a technology essential for the leap to fully autonomous vehicles that can transform the future of transportation.”

Civil Maps has the software that will enable raw 3D data to be crunched from LiDAR which is a high-resolution laser imaging device. Besides this, cameras and sensors fitted on self-driving vehicles help in this regard too. The ultimate aim is to create a machine-readable format. Self-driving vehicles need a different kind of extended map.

The map creation techniques used by Civil Maps allows such self-sufficient vehicles to act like their own drivers in an almost human manner. The sensors detect features on the road and off it as well. This makes things smooth sailing all the way.

All chances of accidents are reduced to nearly nil by this precautionary technology. The real world is very complex and to navigate its way through a messy environment requires every ounce of artificial intelligence savvy a self-driving vehicle can possess.

The vehicle needs to dredge up the resources from its depths in order to survive on the road. The various components of the self-driving cars ensure that each lane on the desired journey is followed in a manner that goes by the book. All hidden objects along the way are taken into cognizance.

Everything counts in the mix. From intruding people and vehicles to road signs, pedestrians that need to be respected and traffic rules that need to be followed, it is one giant headache that is managed in a most suitable way by the high technology of self-driving vehicles.

Ford is meanwhile chipping in this venture. Its bosses know that this is the wave of the future and they want a piece of the action. Over a 100 researchers, engineers and science experts are busy tinkering away in labs for the sake of perfecting the self-driving car. Ford cannot afford to miss out on such a lucrative opportunity so it has donated a whopping amount of cash in the scheme.

“Autonomous vehicles require a totally new kind of map,” said Sravan Puttagunta, Chief Executive Officer, Civil Maps. “Civil Maps’ 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. We are honored to work with Ford and the rest of our investor team to pave the way for fully autonomous vehicles at continental scale.”

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