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Silicon Valley-based start-up Civil Maps has developed a unique, scalable high definition, 3D mapping and localisation solution suitable for routing autonomous vehicles. In 2019, the company set up its European headquarters in Luxembourg in order to address the European market for self-driving cars and logistics.

Using artificial intelligence to improve autonomous driving

The research project launched with the SnT will expand the capabilities of Civil Maps’ high definition (HD) Maps Service. HD maps are designed to provide highly specific and accurate information about all the details of a route, including route deviations and obstacles. They are crucial for an autonomous vehicle to function since they provide information that road signs and markings traditionally give to drivers as they navigate to their destination. HD maps are exponentially more detailed than standard definition (SD) maps, which is what traditional navigation services such as car GPS systems and mobile apps use.

We see Luxembourg as the European hub for innovation in the smart mobility sector.

Civil Maps’ HD maps are extremely precise, including information about surrounding objects, for safe and reliable navigation. The research collaboration will use SnT’s expertise in machine learning and visual recognition to further develop and automate the map creation processes, one of the key components to accelerate the proliferation of self-driving cars and delivery robots worldwide.

Exploring smart mobility

This partnership is the latest in a series of projects that SnT and Luxembourg have initiated to support autonomous vehicle innovation. “In order to make self-driving cars a reality, a lot of technology development is still required, making this a vibrant research field,” said Dr Raphaël Frank, Principal Investigator and Head of the 360Lab. “By partnering with Civil Maps we will be able to collaborate closely with a promising start-up in the sector that will ensure we push innovation in the field that much further.”

In order to make self-driving cars a reality, a lot of technology development is still required.

SnT’s 360Lab is the research centre’s dedicated team for exploring smart mobility solutions, and Luxembourg, along with Germany and France, are also cooperating on the cross-border digital testbed, a platform for regional innovation in connected and autonomous mobility. “We are dedicated to becoming Europe’s #1 living lab for autonomous driving,” said Joost Ortjens, Head of Business Development Automotive at Luxinnovation. “Scalable and commercially viable HD mapping technology as provided by Civil Maps is definitely a missing part in the European autonomous driving ecosystem. We are supporting this Silicon Valley start-up in the development of their European business, and assist their research needs as we work towards our mutual goals.”

A European hub for innovation

“We see Luxembourg as the European hub for innovation in the smart mobility sector. The work that SnT is doing reinforces that position,” said Stefan Safko, CEO of Civil Maps. “By teaming up with highly reputed universities such as University of Luxembourg, we see incredible potential in what we can build together.”

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