Startup Argo AI Plans to Give Researchers Access to its Maps for Free

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【Summary】While other companies go to great lengths to keep things like data, hardware, software, and even personnel inside a safe bubble, Argo AI is interested in sharing its data with others.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Jul 30, 2019 6:30 AM PT
Startup Argo AI Plans to Give Researchers Access to its Maps for Free

Autonomous cars and the industries they bring to light are expected to be worth billions of dollars. Take a look at Uber's recent aim to have a valuation of up to $91.5 billion or Lyft's valuation of $24.3 billion, and the amount of money that's up in the air for autonomous cars is clearly evident.

Argo AI Wants To Share Data

With so much money up for grabs, companies are going to great lengths to ensure that all of the stuff they come out with is protected and for their eyes only. It's why there was a large lawsuit between Uber and Waymo involving one of Google's former autonomous engineers. Keeping things from getting out to a competitor is key.

Startup Argo AI, an artificial intelligence company based out of Pittsburgh, has different plans. Argo AI, according to a report by TechCrunch is looking to share its curated data and high-definition maps with researchers at no cost. It's one of the few companies on the market that's looking to open-source a small sample of the information it has collected.

The goal for Argo AI is to give researchers an opportunity to look into how HD maps affect perfection and forecasting, claims the outlet. By using Argo AI's maps, researchers will, hopefully, be able to come up with systems that are better at identifying and tracking objects on the road that cars might encounter. Predicting where and how the objects will move are also things researchers can work on with the data. 

What's Included With The Free Data

Argo AI's data and maps are being grouped under one moniker called Argoverse and that's what's being offered to researchers for free. While Argoverse doesn't have all of the startup's data, it includes two HD maps with lane centerlines, ground height, and traffic direction, claims TechCrunch, for roads that Argo AI's self-driving cars have driven on in Miami and in Pittsburgh.  

While there's a lot of focus on the brain of a self-driving car, maps play a major role in giving cars the ability to drive on their own. If a car doesn't have a good idea of what the road layout is, it has to be able to learn the roads and react to them on the fly, which is incredibly difficult.

With backing from Ford, Argo AI recently expanded its autonomous program to include Detroit. The vehicles in the Motor City are Argo AI's latest and greatest, being the third generation of the company's prototypes that are based on the Ford Fusion Hybrid.

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