Lidar technology gets a boost for autonomous driving

Start-up Civil Maps has raised $6.6 million from investors including Ford to advance its lidar autonomous driving technology.

The news follows Princeton Lightwave commercialising its Geiger-mode lidar through the development of a new automotive business unit.

Civil Maps, provider of lidar 3D mapping technology for fully autonomous vehicles, raised the $6.6 million in a seed funding round led by Motus Ventures and including investment from Ford, Wicklow Capital, StartX Stanford and Yahoo cofounder Jerry Yang’s AME Cloud Ventures.

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’s technology obtains raw 3D data using lidar and, through software, compiles it with the information delivered by onboard sensors. This produces a machine-readable map that requires much less data storage and transmission than existing technologies.

Civil Maps will use the finance to accelerate product development and to deploy its technology in the automotive sector.

‘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.’

Meanwhile, Princeton Lightwave launched its automotive lidar business unit to commercialise its Geiger-mode lidar technology for the emerging driverless car market. Geiger-mode lidar has been recommended by the Auto Alliance – a US association made up of the 12 largest car manufacturers – for its ability to sense beyond 200 metres for reducing collisions.

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