ALBANY, CA — Civil Maps, provider of 3D mapping technology for fully autonomous vehicles, has raised a $6.6 million seed funding round. The round was led by Motus Ventures and includes investment from Ford Motor Company, Wicklow Capital, StartX Stanford and Yahoo cofounder Jerry Yang’s AME Cloud Ventures.
Civil Maps’ mission is to make it possible for fully autonomous vehicles (SAE Levels 4-5) to drive anywhere smoothly and safely. Through artificial intelligence and vehicle-based local processing, Civil Maps converts sensor data into meaningful map information built specifically to direct fully autonomous vehicles. The company will use the seed investment to accelerate product development and deployment with a number of leading automotive companies and technology partners.
“Civil Maps’ pioneering mapping technology is building the backbone of our fully autonomous future,” said Jim DiSanto, managing director of Motus Ventures. “By creating and managing live semantic maps of all the roads in America, the company is providing a technology essential for the leap to fully autonomous vehicles that can transform the future of transportation.”
Civil Maps’ artificial intelligence software aggregates raw 3D data from LiDAR (high-resolution laser imaging), camera and other sensors onboard autonomous vehicles and organizes the information into machine-readable maps. The information is vastly more actionable information than today’s mapping systems and requires a fraction of the data storage and transmission for existing technologies. Thanks to this light data footprint, Civil Maps’ spatial information is far less costly to transmit over cellular networks, enabling the company to more easily crowdsource, update and share road data in real time—a major improvement over the lengthy processes that require human annotation in current use. As a result, the company can quickly generate and maintain maps that give fully autonomous vehicles the comprehensive and precise knowledge to autonomous operate safely and smoothly on all roads.
“Autonomous vehicles require a totally new kind of map,” said Sravan Puttagunta, Chief Executive Officer, Civil Maps. “Civil Maps’ scalable map generation process enables fully autonomous vehicles to drive like humans do – identifying on-road and off-road features even when they might be missing, deteriorated or hidden from view and letting a car know what it can expect along its route. We are honored to work with Ford and the rest of our investor team to pave the way for fully autonomous vehicles at continental scale.”