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NavInfo Signs Agreement to Supply Daimler With Digital Maps in China

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【Summary】Chinese digital mapping company NavInfo signed a seven-year agreement with German automaker Daimler to become its exclusive digital mapping supplier in China over the next seven years. Daimler will use NavInfo’s mapping technology to to develop autonomous driving systems on future models.

Eric Walz    Aug 31, 2018 12:43 PM PT
NavInfo Signs Agreement to Supply Daimler With Digital Maps in China

Chinese digital mapping company NavInfo signed a seven-year agreement with German automaker Daimler to become its exclusive digital mapping supplier in China over the next seven years. Daimler will use NavInfo's mapping technology to to develop autonomous driving systems on future models.

As part of the agreement, NavInfo will provide navigation and digital mapping services, advanced driver assistance technology to Daimler's passenger cars which will be mass produced in China between 2020 and 2024. China aims to have 30 million self-driving vehicles on the road in the next ten years.

NavInfo said in a statement today that the company will apply its latest technology to improve accuracy of its mapping services and enhance their functions to support autonomous vehicles.

"The deal will help NavInfo to further increase its market share in the vehicle navigation sector and enhance our leading position in intelligent vehicle location service industry," NavInfo said. "The signing of the agreement is also expected to improve our profitability and business performance which will boost our future development positively."

NavInfo was founded in 2002. The company specializes in navigation mapping, dynamic traffic information, navigation software and customized telematics for passenger and commercial vehicles. The company's mapping technology offers centimeter level accuracy, which is necessary to support autonomous driving vehicles.

Detailed maps of China are not readily available for foreign companies like Daimler, so the deal is a big win for the automaker. Google Maps, for instance, is one of the most used Google services worldwide, however all of its features are not available in China.

The Chinese government has blocked foreign companies like Google and TomTom from mapping its roads in great detail. However, these restrictions do not apply to Chinese companies. The reason for this is that China believes giving other countries access to detailed maps and infrastructure creates a national security risk.

NavInfo started providing mapping data for the Advanced Driver Assistance System in a small number of Mercedes-Benz cars beginning in 2012.

Currently, it also supplies navigation mapping services to global automakers including BMW, Volkswagen Group, General Motors, Volvo, Toyota, Nissan, as well as several domestic automakers such as SAIC, Great Wall and Chery Automobile.

In January, NavInfo announced another partnership with Intel's Mobileye to build and distribute Mobileye's Road Experience Management (REM) product in China. Mobileye's REM system is a enables autonomous vehicles to localize themselves much more accurately. The system uses data collected anonymously from forward facing cameras in vehicles to assist in building detailed maps, including identifying lane boundaries and other infrastructure.

Last month, Daimler became the first foreign automaker granted a permit to test autonomous cars on public roads in Beijing.

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