Woven Planet Holdings, Inc., a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation, has acquired CARMERA, Inc., a US-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 (AMP) organization of Woven Alpha. 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.
Lane-level object detection in downtown Detroit, part of an earlier CARMERA and TRI-AD mapping initiative.
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.