This new startup promises a new, safer future for autonomous vehicles and their riders.DeepMap is a startup founded in 2016 that’s planning to take autonomous driving to a whole new level. They do this through improving operating systems in three ways- mapping, localization, and simulation data.
Through thoroughly and intricately mapping out roads, they hope to make the world more navigable for self-driving vehicles. Many people in tech believe that these cars will be the ones driving us into the future, and although some customers are a little nervous at the idea, it’s vital to keep a watchful eye on startups like this.
DeepMap is currently partnered with SAIC Motor Innovation Center to test out their software on real autonomous vehicles (or AVs). By test driving their software, they hope to provide mapping systems for AVs that will result in safer and more capable navigation systems.
DeepMap is helmed by a team of highly trained software engineers, including James Wu, the CEO, who previously designed mapping systems at Google. Together, this team works to bring accurate, HD mapping into AV software systems, hoping to alleviate generalized public distrust of self-driving cars.
Although many believe AVs to be the future of driving, it’s going to take a while to build up public support. The very concept of driverless cars is enough to scare off a lot of people; it seems to evoke a kind of inherent fear of machines taking over, or worse, the car’s system malfunctioning and stoically driving the unaware passenger to his death.
And, to be fair, there are several cases of malfunctioning AVs resulting in death just recently in the news. According to a survey run by AAA, 73% of Americans would not ride in an AV, showing an increase from 63% reported in late 2017. This increase is almost definitely attributable to the high-profile crashes that have occurred in the last month or so.
At first, it would seem that this is the end of the story; the market is run by what the people want, and the people don’t seem to be comfortable with AV technology. However, the benefits of AV technology are so multivariate that the foremost leaders of the auto industry are working to integrate AV software into their cars.
With the spread of self-driving vehicles, transport opportunities bloom for the elderly as well as disabled people. In addition to this, owning a car with AV software installed significantly lessens the dangers of drunk driving. We’re looking at a future in which AV systems save an uncountable number of lives.
So what does DeepMap specifically have to offer? As stated on their website, DeepMap works through centimeter-level, real-time localization to ensure that software is oriented to the world outside of the car. They even report on driving conditions and road types so that the localization process is tailored to each environment the car will be put in.
They use data collected through 3D imaging from the real world rather than models. This cutting-edge technology promises reliability more than anything else; the assurances around every corner of DeepMap’s website show an empathetic understanding of the public’s distrust. It also outlines clear ways in which DeepMap is attempting to remedy the mistakes of the past through advertising metrics of accuracy and improvement.
There is little to no doubt among the leaders of the auto industry that AVs are the future of safe driving. DeepMap itself is partnered with Ford and Honda, along with SAIC Motor. It’s vital to remember that technological changes such as these always come with controversy- people were scared of "horseless carriages" at first as well.
There’s no doubt, especially with the most recently publicized crashes, that there are issues with AV technology that must be remedied. The foremost engineers in the software industry are partnering with auto industries to enact meaningful changes into AV technology, and with their help, the dream of a future in which transport is accessible and reliable will be realized.
Image credit: Pxhere.