by Cate Cauguiran

ALBANY (KPIX) — Civil Maps is an Albany-based company developing advanced 3-D mapping technology using a high-resolution laser, camera and sensors to record infrastructure along roadways.

The goal: to collect information from drivers using software and then get that data into self-driving cars’ navigation systems.

It’s an essential development on the road to fully-autonomous vehicles. Civil Maps’ CEO Sravan Puttagunta loves showing it off.

“The existing maps that you have today give you high-level instructions but depend on the human driver to contextualize instructions and translate what they see,” Puttagunta said.

Google and Tesla are also developing similar technology but Civil Maps is trying to do it at a fraction of the cost and their approach has got the attention of Ford Motor Company, which is one of Civil Maps’ investors.

“We are building trust in the autonomous system over time and for riders and drivers to adopt the autonomous cars, they need to be able to trust the car, they need to feel safe in the car,” Puttagunta says.

Comments (2)
  1. Julie H. says:

    So will “smart” cars know that if a ball bounces into the street, that a child or a dog might be following it? Or that if one animal crosses the street, that others may follow? Does it recognize weaving, impaired drivers and know to give them a wide berth? Does it recognize the signs of road-rage, such as when a driver first tailgates, starts to pass, then slows back down and pulls even with your car? Does it know when to ACCELERATE to avoid an accident, instead of braking? (That saved my life one night.) Sorry, but although yes… I am a fallible human being who can still make mistakes, I have gut instincts and the ability to ANTICIPATE a problem based on what drivers of the cars around me are doing as they drive. That has kept me alive and accident-free for several decades of driving. It doesn’t make me invincible, but I think I stand a far better chance driving my own car, rather than letting a computer do it for me.

  2. New York City’s “Ground Zero” is the World Transportation Center (WTC), the point of origin for America’s new self-driving-car infrastructure.

    When you search “World Transportation Center” on the Google Maps app, Manhattan’s former World Trade Center (WTC) comes up.