Civil Maps utilizes artificial-intelligence software to collect three-dimensional data from sensors on self-driving vehicles. With the collected data, the startup creates detailed maps that are used to direct self-driving cars. The company claims its light data footprint reduces the cost of transmitting information over cellular networks. It also updates and shares road data in real time.
"We are investing in Civil Maps, a 3D mapping company, as part of our expansion to be both an auto and a mobility company," Ford spokesman Alan Hall said in an email. "Investing in and working with Civil Maps gives us an additional way to develop 3D high-resolution maps, which will bring fully autonomous Ford vehicles a step closer to reality for consumers."
Ford is collaborating with various technology partners on autonomous vehicles. Earlier this year, Ford invested $182 million in Pivotal, a software company that could hasten the development of connected vehicles, and created a subsidiary, Ford Smart Mobility. Ford did not reveal how much it contributed to the seed funding.