Self-driving cars will likely be among the largest disrupting forces to affect every industry. Experts believe we are only few years away from the widespread adoption of self-driving cars – a view backed up by the myriad of high-profile companies working on the industry's embryonic stage.
One of the biggest hurdles to bringing autonomous cars to fruition is the perfection of navigation. While navigation for a human is routine, a self-driving car navigating itself has to utilize various technologies such as machine vision, IoT and GPS to just name a few.
Map technology startup Mapfit has developed a platform capable of creating custom maps for autonomous cars which take into consideration all of the above and can even create a new waypoint from a photograph or video and currently maps 95% of addresses to within a few steps of the doorway.
Thus, Innovation Enterprise spoke to Mapfit CEO Jeroen Seghers about the future of self-driving mapping technology, its other real-world applications and how he sees the vehicle revolution panning out.
Innovation Enterprise: Is it safe to say autonomous vehicles are an inevitability now?
Jeroen Seghers: Without a doubt. The massive investments in this area over the past few years have resulted in a lot of progress in autonomous technology. There are still some significant technological and regulatory challenges that need to be overcome, but I expect we’ll see Level 5 autonomous vehicles on the roads in the next 10 years.
IE: How does Mapfit work?
JS: Mapfit's mission is to provide real-time, accurate maps for the next generation of technologies. Over the past few years, we have developed a mapping platform that fuses geospatial data from traditional and emerging map data sources. A key area of focus is on drastically improving map data for metropolitan areas by providing rich geospatial data about entrances and structures.
IE: How and why do autonomous vehicles need platforms like Mapfit?
JS: Mapfit will be able to provide autonomous vehicles with a lot more detailed map than is currently available in order to operate properly. Some examples include pick-up and drop-off points for passengers, various types of entrances to structures and where the vehicle can park.
IE: Do you think autonomous vehicles will ultimately be a good or bad thing for economies?
JS: I believe that the net economic impact of autonomous vehicles will be positive. Autonomous fleets will result in more efficient, reliable and cheaper transportation. The economic setbacks (e.g., less need for human operators, lower number of vehicles required, impact on fuel consumption) will be more than made up for by a new mobility-as-a-service economy, less accidents and cheaper logistics.
IE: What are the applications for this technology past self-driving cars?
JS: Mapfit is working with companies in various industries to improve existing use cases of digital maps. There are many ways that our doorway-accurate map data can enhance both consumer and commercial applications. We are helping customers create more compelling visual user experiences and more efficient routing of deliveries and logistics.
IE: What innovation do you see this technology leading you next?
JS: We are investing increasingly in taking in additional data from new sources of mapping data. We are engaged in R&D efforts with several partners to feed sensor data from connected cars into our platform and provide real-time map updates to our customers.
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