Ford Invests In Mapping As Tesla, Alphabet Maps Power Autonomy
Ford Motor (F) and four other investors are putting $6.6 million into Civil Maps, a startup developing 3D mapping technology, joining Tesla Apple and Alphabet in the race to develop maps that can help guide self-driving cars.
Other investors with Ford include Motus Ventures, Wicklow Capital, StartX Stanford and Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang’s AME Cloud Ventures.
Ford shares were down 0.15% on the stock market today, after retaking their 200-day average Tuesday and their 50-day average Monday. Tesla was down 0.5%, its fourth straight loss but still above its 50-day line. Apple fell 1 cent to 98.78 and Alphabet lost 17 cents to 735.63.
Civil Maps’ artificial intelligence software takes raw data from LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) and camera sensors, then packages the information in a machine-readable map format that it says is a fraction of the size of existing technologies.
Accurate, detailed maps are increasingly seen as key to developing autonomy that is reliable under a variety of driving conditions.
Tesla collects data collected by Autopilot-enabled cars and uses it to refine maps. Apple and Google, which are working on self-driving cars, have also been producing maps. And a consortium of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz recently acquired Nokia’s map business after a hotly contested bidding war.
Ford is among at least 30 companies developing autonomous vehicle technology, according to market tracker CB Insights, including General Motors , Fiat Chrysler Automobiles ,Honda Motor, and Volkswagen.
In May, Fiat Chrysler said it had signed a deal with Google to build 100 prototype autonomous Pacifica hybrid self-driving minivans and the companies plan to have them on roads for testing by the end of this year.