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Civil Maps debuts augmented reality maps for self-driving cars

Civil Maps, a software provider for crowdsourcing continental scale 3D maps for fully autonomous machines , unveiled a passenger-facing augmented reality (AR) experience that integrates the company’s localization technology with 3D dynamic maps. The Localization & AR Maps launch follows Civil Maps’ successful seed round in July 2016, funded in part by Ford (earlier post).

Civil Maps is currently working with a range of customers and technology partners to develop and deploy mapping and localization technology for AVs and other autonomous machines.

Civil Maps recently held a series of test drive experiences in vehicles equipped with its AR display and proprietary localization technology, showing passengers how self-driving cars using Civil Maps technology observe and navigate complex driving environments in real time. Civil Maps’ localization and mapping platform is now commercially available for car makers and other companies interested in low-cost, high-precision 3D map creation and updates.

Vehicles equipped with Civil Maps’ localization and mapping platform tap into real-time sensors to aggregate detailed and up-to-date map information, building a more complete virtual world for autonomous vehicles and a smoother ride for passengers.

Autonomous vehicles (AVs) relying on these maps as a reference for precise navigation combine Civil Maps’ localization with preexisting map information to inform real time decision-making. This combination of previously-known map information with up-to-date localization by vehicles equipped with Civil Maps technology is the crowdsourcing power that builds and continuously updates maps for AVs.

The dynamic map created by AVs not only helps fully autonomous vehicles make important driving decisions, but can also inform passengers with a visualization of the vehicle’s understanding of the environment. Civil Maps’ in-vehicle localization and mapping platform pairs with AR technology that shows passengers a live video feed along with the map data relevant to the vehicle’s precise position. Ride-along demonstrations that showcase this pairing of advanced mapping technology and AR are ongoing at Civil Maps’ headquarters in Albany, California.

Civil Maps’ localization and mapping platform comes packaged in an off-the shelf commercial hardware reference kit that can be easily affixed to a range of mounting systems and vehicles, and is also available in a Lite package that integrates with sensors already built into many of today’s mass-produced vehicles.

The Civil Maps Localization & AR Mapping software generates 3D maps with greater efficiency of cost and labor than any other currently available mapping technique and creates maps that include highly detailed, real-time spatial data, accurate to the nearest three to five centimeters.

Additionally, the platform requires a small fraction of the data storage and transmission that is traditionally used for localization, a major break from other mapping technologies. This allows machines to crowdsource data from many vehicles and connect to the cloud through 4G LTE at low cost, due to its light data footprint and an automated data collection and mapping process.

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