Nvidia's New Mapping Platform for Autonomous Vehicles Will Survey 310,000 Miles Worldwide

Nvidia Drive Map Platform 6 photos
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A new mapping platform from tech giant Nvidia promises to make autonomous vehicles safer on the streets and plans to map 310,000 miles (500,000 km) of roads worldwide.
While Nvidia will always remain more popular among gamers and computer geeks, the multinational company is also getting more and more involved in the automotive industry. Take its Drive Hyperion system for instance, which is one of the most advanced AV (autonomous vehicle) development platforms on the market.

Now Nvidia unveils a multimodal mapping platform called Drive Map, which is available to the entire AV industry and boasts of enabling the highest levels of autonomy. It is meant to improve safety on the road by helping the AI (artificial intelligence) driver understand its surroundings better.

By 2024, Nvidia aims to provide survey-level ground truth mapping coverage of more than 310,000 miles of roadway in North America, Europe, and Asia, at centimeter-level accuracy. Over time, the map will continue to expand and get updated with millions of passenger vehicles.

Using three localization layers (camera, LiDAR, and radar), the Drive Map promises to provide the redundancy and versatility required for the highest levels of autonomy. The AI driver will be able to rely on the camera for map attributes like road markings, lane dividers, traffic lights, and so on. In low light conditions, the radar layer will be the more reliable option, while the LiDAR layer will be able to build the most precise, 3D representations of the world at 5-centimeter (1.9”) resolution, which is an accuracy that cameras and radars can’t achieve.

Drive Map uses DeepMap’s survey mapping technology, which is combined with an AI-based crowdsourced map engine that gathers map updates from millions of cars, constantly uploading new data to the cloud. All the data is loaded on the Nvidia Omniverse platform and feeds AV fleets with fresh map updates within hours.

The map will accurately replicate features like road markings and elevation, islands, signs, vertical posts, and traffic signals.

All cars that meet the Drive Map requirements will be able to continuously update the map using radar, lidar, and camera data via the Drive MapStream interface.
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About the author: Cristina Mircea
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Cristina’s always found writing more comfortable to do than speaking, which is why she chose print over broadcast media in college. When she’s not typing, she also loves riding non-motorized two-wheelers, going on hikes with her dog, and rocking her electric guitars.
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