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Self updating map

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Maps are becoming increasingly important in vehicles and not just for navigation.Self-driving technology is reliant on maps and positioning, which is why Tesla is leading several different efforts to improve maps as part of this transition to autonomous driving and now it is adding new ones.

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For much of the last decade, digital maps have helped people pull up basic directions while walking and driving."If you have an autonomous car, then the map is not going to be an optional feature," says John Ristevski, former VP of Here, a mapping business once owned by Nokia that offers HD maps."It's going to be a core component of the vehicle that will produce ongoing revenue." Unlike traditional navigation systems sold by companies like Tom Tom, HD maps may need to be updated as much as daily for certain regions.At Waymo, Google's self-driving car division, staffers parse out the data collected to identify objects like driveways and fire hydrants.The cars then "automatically send reports back to our mapping team whenever they detect changes" like construction, according to the company.The race to build up this next generation of maps is only getting more crowded.

Google, Uber, and others are each working to collect data for HD maps with sensors in their autonomous cars.

As an example, Mc Bride says maps can guide cars when the lane markings are covered by snow or a truck is blocking the car's view of a traffic signal.

It can also free up car sensors to focus on detecting objects not included on the map, like pedestrians.

Other mapping startups like Civil Maps, backed by Ford, and Mapbox are also working with automakers.

Carmera, another startup, came out of stealth mode this week with $6.4 million in funding and plans to crowdsource "real-time" data for maps.

But this approach is difficult even for companies with a strong bench of technical talent.