Robert Bosch Venture Capital invests in DeepMap

Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH (RBVC), the corporate venture capital company of the Bosch Group, has completed an investment in DeepMap Inc, a California-based software start-up focused on solving mapping and localisation challenges for autonomous vehicles.

DeepMap’s approach allows different companies to create custom HD maps, which contain different characteristics and data structures. DeepMap also provides software embedded in the vehicle that addresses localisation, change detection, data updates, route planning, HD map caching, and data collection. Bosch says these capabilities allow DeepMap to undertake one of the biggest challenges in the industry, providing ‘living’, continuously updated HD maps. The company says it is not providing a static map database, but rather a full software layer in the cloud and embedded on the vehicle.

DeepMap is also pursuing a new data ownership model where the end customer owns the underlying data. This strategy enables them to take a more scalable, low-cost approach to HD map making. Instead of owning and operating expensive survey fleets, data can be collected from the customer’s autonomous vehicles deployed in the field.

The company says that High Definition maps are complete and accurate volumetric reconstructions of a 3D environment and provide a critical set of ‘pre-information’ to autonomous vehicles. They contain layers of semantic information such as lane connectivity, drivable areas, crosswalks, signs, signals, traffic restrictions, and other information that is specific to each end-customer’s solution.

HD maps have extremely high precision, typically at the centimetre-level. This is because autonomous vehicles need very precise instructions on how to manoeuvre themselves around in the real world. The key value proposition, the company says, is that the more precise the HD map is, the simpler the self-driving software can be while obtaining higher performance.

“Self-driving car development is both a technology challenge and a product challenge. It needs to be safe, affordable, and scalable. In the self-driving era, a map is no longer ‘just a map’. It’s an integral part of the car’s brain,” said James Wu, CEO and Co-Founder of DeepMap.

“Maps explicitly designed to be read by machines are a critical enabling technology for safe autonomy,” said Dr. Ingo Ramesohl, RBVC Managing Director. “DeepMap fills a vacuum in the market. The company’s approach to mapping, which leverages embedded software on the vehicle, is very compelling and relevant for highly automated as well as autonomous driving, within Bosch and the whole automotive industry.”

15 Sep 2018

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