Ford invests in mapmaker for self-driving car
Among other investors, Ford has put a stake in Civil Maps, a California based startup that makes maps fors elf-driving cars. In total, Civil maps received 6.6 million dollars in funding. It’s not clear exaclty what amount Ford has invested.
By combining localization technology and artificial intelligence, Civil Maps wants to create a new generation of maps that enable fully autonomous vehicles to traverse roads safely and comfortably without human intervention. The company is working with leading automotive customers and partners across the world to bring fully autonomous vehicles to market at continental scale. “Autonomous vehicles require a totally new kind of map,” stated Sravan Puttagunta, CEO of Civil Maps.
The other investors are Motus Ventures, Wicklow Capital, StartX Stanford and AME Cloud Ventures. Civil Maps currently employs sixteen people and is hiring. The company grew out of an accelerator program sponsored by Stanford University.
According to Bloomberg, Ford will not unveil exactly which part of the 6.6 million dollars it invested. “Investing in and working with Civil Maps gives us an additional way to develop 3-D high-resolution maps, which will bring fully autonomous Ford vehicles a step closer for consumers,” Alan Hall, a spokesman for the automaker, said in an e-mailed statement.
Personalizing self-driving car
Ford has been investing in technology partners as the car company researches autonomous driving. Recently it initiated a three month program for twelve companies that focus on transportation solutions. Each of the companies received 120.000 dollars in funding. Among the twelve is Braiq, that works on personalizing the self-driving car.
In the beginning of 2016, Ford tripled its fleet of fully autonomous Ford Fusion Hybrid test vehicles. It uses a new-generation sensor technology that must help further accelerates Ford;s autonomous vehicle development plans. In 2016, Ford adds 20 Fusion Hybrid autonomous vehicles to the program, bringing the company’s autonomous fleet to about 30 vehicles being tested on roads in California, Arizona and Michigan.