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NVIDIA to Acquire DeepMap, a Silicon Valley Startup Building HD Maps for Self-Driving Vehicles

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【Summary】​Technology giant NVIDIA Corp. has agreed to acquire autonomous vehicle mapping startup DeepMap, a company that’s using crowdsourced data to build high-definition maps for autonomous vehicles. The acquisition is expected to close in the third calendar quarter of 2021.

FutureCar Staff    Jun 11, 2021 4:00 PM PT
NVIDIA to Acquire DeepMap, a Silicon Valley Startup Building HD Maps for Self-Driving Vehicles
DeepMap creates highly detailed HD maps to help autonomous vehicles navigate.

Technology giant NVIDIA Corp. has agreed to acquire autonomous vehicle mapping startup DeepMap, a company that's using crowdsourced data to build high-definition maps for autonomous vehicles.

The acquisition is expected to close in the third calendar quarter of 2021, subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.  

DeepMap, founded in 2016, specializes in fusing crowdsourced images from digital cameras, radar and 3D lidar data collected from a vehicle to create its high definition maps for self-driving vehicles. The HD maps are accurate down to roughly three centimeters and are used by self-driving vehicles to safely navigate and localize.

HD Maps used by self-driving vehicles include semantic details not found on standard digital maps used by millions of drivers for turn-by-turn driving directions. The highly detailed 3D maps include the exact position of lane markings, road signs, crosswalks, curbs and other infrastructure. 

DeepMap's other focus is to ensure that a vehicle's maps are always up to date and readily available. Keeping HD maps updated and available in real-time is a big challenge for automakers, as well as for developers of self-driving vehicles. 

DeepMap's technology ensures that updated maps are always available. The company also offers efficient map data storage which supports low latency communication between vehicles and the cloud.  

In April, DeepMap was named as one of the most innovative companies utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) by CB Insights, a National Science Foundation-backed big data company. Deepmap was selected from a pool of over 6,000 companies that are redefining industries.

"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 at the forefront of developing hardware for autonomous vehicles due to the robust processing capabilities of its SoCs and GPUs. 

The company's lineup of NVIDIA DRIVE products are widely used by developers of self-driving vehicles, including automaker Mercedes-Benz. Nvidia's DRIVE AGX platform is a scable, open platform that serves as the AI "brain" of a self-driving vehicle. 

NVIDIA's hardware is also being used by Chinese electric vehicle startup Xpeng to power its autonomous driving system. The Xpeng P7 sedan is the company's first EV powered by the Nvidia's DRIVE AGX platform, which features the company's high-performance, energy-efficient Xavier system-on-a-chip (SoC) that delivers 30 TOPS (trillions of operations per second) of performance.

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

"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." 

Before co-founding DeepMap, Wu led the engineering efforts building the serving infrastructure of Google Earth and also helped launch Apple Maps. He also served as principal architect for Baidu's Apollo, an open self-driving platform in China.

NVIDIA said it will continue working with DeepMap's ecosystem to meet their needs, investing in new capabilities and services for new and existing partners. But the acquisition of DeepMap will help NVIDIA expand its mapping technology to support level 2 and higher autonomous driving as it continues to expand its presence in the auto industry.

DeepMap just announced its new crowdsourced mapping service called "RoadMemory" on June 3.

DeepMap's RoadMemory enables automakers to accelerate the creation and deployment of large-scale digital maps using crowdsourced data collected from fleets of passenger vehicles and trucks. It's designed to expand  HD map coverage for autonomous vehicles more quickly and efficiently.

DeepMap is headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, with additional offices in Beijing and Guangzhou, China. 

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