Nvidia is to acquire DeepMap, a startup dedicated to building the high-definition maps capable of providing autonomous vehicles with the centimeter-level precision required for accurate localization (the ability of an AV to locate itself in the world).
Such localization requires constantly updated maps, which must 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.
DeepMap, which was founded five years ago by Wu and Mark Wheeler, veterans of Google, Apple and Baidu, among other companies, provides such detail. The US 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.
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.
DeepMap’s technology will bolster the mapping and localization capabilities available on Nvidia Drive, ensuring autonomous vehicles always know precisely where they are and where they’re going.
“The acquisition is an endorsement of DeepMap’s unique vision, technology and people,” said Ali Kani, VP 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,” added 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.”
The acquisition is expected to close in the third calendar quarter of 2021, subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions.
Nvidia Drive is a software-defined, end-to-end platform for autonomous driving – 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.