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.

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

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“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.

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“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.