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Nvidia and TomTom are creating super-maps for driverless cars

Nvidia and TomTom have teamed up to develop “highly detailed” mapping for the self-driving cars of the future.

Computing giant Nvidia plans to build artificial intelligence that will create a cloud-to-car mapping system for driverless vehicles, in partnership with the mapping experts at TomTom. The work will make use of Nvidia’s existing Drive PX2 computing platform, which is the latest iteration of the company’s driverless car software. This will be combined with TomTom’s HD mapping project, which always spans 120,000km of highways and freeways in the USA.

So what is HD mapping? Well, it stands for “highly detailed” mapping. TomTom is basically mapping a fully accurate, border-to-border model of the road. That includes the roadway profile, with information on the road’s curvature and terrain. Advanced mapping such as this is generally believed to be essential to getting autonomous cars on public roads.

“Self-driving cars require a highly accurate HD mapping system that can generate an always up-to-date HD map in the cloud,” said Rob Csongor, VP Nvidia’s driverless car lead. “Drive PX2 for AutoCruise provides TomTom with a real-time, in-vehicle source for HD map updates.”

You can check out TomTom’s HD mapping in action here:

Nvidia’s software development kit for self-driving cars – dubbed Nvidia DriveWorks – will now also feature integrated support for TomTom’s HD mapping environment. This means that car-makers and suppliers that are developing driverless cars will have easy access to some of the most advanced HD mapping on the planet.

Speaking at today’s announcement, Willem Strijbosch, Head of Autonomous Driving at TomTom, said: “This collaboration is an important step for TomTom. Combining our highly accurate HD maps with Nvidia’s self-driving car platform will enable us to propose new features to automakers faster, and therefore to make autonomous driving a commercial reality sooner.”

And to round off, here’s a video to demonstrate the importance of accurate mapping:

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