Mapillary secures additional funding to accelerate global map data collection

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The world’s leading street-level imagery platform that extracts map data using computer vision, Mapillary, has raised US$15m in Series B funding in the latest push to scale smart map data collection.

The Swedish company’s latest round of funding has been led by BMW i Ventures, with participation by Samsung Catalyst Fund and NavInfo, together with existing investors including Atomico and Sequoia Capital.

The Malmo-based startup already maintains the world’s largest street-level imagery dataset at over 260 million images and serves stakeholders in mapping, cities, and the automotive industry that are looking to create and update map data through the use of computer vision. Mapillary is keen to advance the move toward the widespread use of high-definition (HD) maps, which will prove to be a key component in the adoption of connected and autonomous vehicles.

Built to ensure a transparent and scalable way of updating maps and, recently, HD automotive maps, Mapillary currently serves 22 billion map objects in over 190 countries, with clients ranging from the Volkswagen Group and mapping giant Here, to entire countries and NGOs such as Lithuania and The Red Cross.

Mapillary’s collaborative platform allows anyone to contribute street-level images captured with any camera, with the company’s computer vision technology being used to connect the images and automatically extract map data. The technology is increasingly interesting to the automotive industry, as the global market for driverless cars is set to surge to US$127bn by 2027.

The new investor group adds considerable experience and insight into delivering map data and integrating it into HD and regular maps, which Mapillary co-founder and CEO, Jan Erik Solem, says will help the company ramp up its automotive-specific integrations.

“The world is still just scratching the surface of autonomous driving, and we know that the demand for a collaborative platform that works across different systems and maps will be steadily growing as autonomous cars hit the streets in increasing numbers,” explained Solem.

“That’s the platform we’ve been building since we started out in 2013, and our new investors’ expertise in both the automotive industry and map data distribution will help us realize our global potential in the coming years.”

Uwe Higgen, managing partner of BMW i Ventures, commented, “There is a growing need for an independent provider of street-level imagery and map data, which acts as a sharing platform among different players. Sharing data is crucial to maintaining accurate maps and safer autonomous vehicles, as no single player has the necessary deployment in place to ensure this. Mapillary has made great progress and built technology that will let everyone update maps in a scalable way.”

Ekaterina Almasque, managing director of Samsung Catalyst Fund in Europe, noted, “Before we can realize a future of connected, autonomous cars, we need reliable, intelligent maps. Mapillary’s industry leading technology platform turns everyday travel data into a powerful tool – one of the most robust datasets for street-level imagery in the world.

“With our acquisition of Harman and our new Drvline platform for autonomous driving, we’ve seen what’s possible in mobility when you foster an open ecosystem of companies working together to build a smarter, safer future.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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