The Importance of Maps

The New York Times ran a good story about the importance of maps to self-driving cars, and the relatively few companies that build them.

This is an often-overlooked chokepoint in the self-driving car ecosystem.

Digital maps ease the burden by helping give foresight to a car’s computers, and adding redundancy to the car’s understanding of the situation it faces, said Civil Maps’ chief executive, Sravan Puttagunta. Radar and cameras cannot always recognize a stop sign if pedestrians are standing in the way or the sign has been knocked down, he explained.

“But if the map knows there is a stop sign ahead, then the sensors just need to confirm it,” Mr. Puttagunta said. “Then the load on the sensors and processor is much lower.”

Read the whole thing.

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