It’s time for autonomous vehicle developers to blaze new trails. 

NVIDIA has agreed to acquire DeepMap, a startup dedicated to building high-definition maps for autonomous vehicles to navigate the world safely. 

“The acquisition is an endorsement of DeepMap’s unique vision, technology and people,” said Ali Kani, vice president and general manager of Automotive at NVIDIA. “DeepMap is expected to extend our mapping products, help us scale worldwide map operations and expand our full self-driving expertise.” 

“NVIDIA is an amazing, world-changing company that shares our vision to accelerate safe autonomy,” said James Wu, co-founder and CEO of DeepMap. “Joining forces with NVIDIA will allow our technology to scale more quickly and benefit more people sooner. We look forward to continuing our journey as part of the NVIDIA team.” 

Maps that are accurate to within a few meters are good enough when providing turn-by-turn directions for humans. AVs, however, require much greater precision. They must operate with centimeter-level precision for accurate localization, the ability of an AV to locate itself in the world.  

Proper localization also requires constantly updated maps. These maps must also reflect current road conditions, such as a work zone or a lane closure. These maps need to efficiently scale across AV fleets, with fast processing and minimal data storage. Finally, they must be able to function worldwide. 

Experienced Mapmakers 

DeepMap was founded five years ago by James Wu and Mark Wheeler, veterans of Google, Apple and Baidu, among other companies. The U.S.-based company has developed a high-definition mapping solution that meets these requirements and has already been validated by the AV industry with a wide array of potential customers around the world.  

A DeepMap map in San Jose, Calif., depicting highly-detailed features of the road and surrounding city block environment, including a reliable semantic layer of information with key attributes such as navigable boundaries, lane boundaries, crosswalks, traffic signs and traffic signals, explicit and implicit yield lines, and lane connectivity.

The team, primarily located in the San Francisco Bay Area has many decades of collective experience in mapping technology, and developed a solution that considers autonomous vehicles both map creators and map consumers. Using crowdsourced data from vehicle sensors lets DeepMap build a high-definition map that’s continuously updated as the car drives. 

Ongoing Partner Support  

NVIDIA will continue working with DeepMap’s ecosystem to meet their needs, investing in new capabilities and services for new and existing partners. 

NVIDIA DRIVE is a software-defined, end-to-end platform—from deep neural network training and validation in the data center to high-performance compute in the vehicle—that enables continuous improvement and deployment via over-the-air updates.  

DeepMap’s technology will further bolster the mapping and localization capabilities available on NVIDIA DRIVE, ensuring autonomous vehicles always know precisely where they are, and where they’re going. 

“We are excited to welcome the DeepMap team to NVIDIA. They have a proven track record and are entrepreneurial, nimble, and engineering-focused. DeepMap meets a deep need in the industry, and together we will develop and extend these capabilities,” said Kani.  

The acquisition is expected to close in the third calendar quarter of 2021, subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions. 

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