Our Series B and the Road Ahead
- We’re announcing $20M in Series B financing, led by GV (formerly Google Ventures) with continued participation from prior investors including our Series A lead, Matrix Partners.
- We’re unveiling a new real-time event and change management engine that propagates critical updates to the core vectors of HD base maps within minutes instead of months, as has been the norm.
- Our customers include some of the world’s leading auto and mobility-as-a-service companies who are focused on large-scale deployment, and we are expanding globally, beginning with Japan and Korea.
- The CARMERA partner ecosystem is growing. We are working with one of the largest fleets in the world for data collection, collaborating with governments such as the City of New York for data sharing, integrating with technologies like operating systems and simulation, and expanding our relationships with leading AV research institutions.
Today we are excited to announce our $20 million Series B, led by GV. From our earliest conversations, they shared our vision for the future of AV technology, and conviction for high definition mapping as a critical, long-term part of the stack. With this round we are more committed than ever to maintaining the world’s most robust and accessible street intelligence platform, as a top-tier, independent AV supplier built for the long term.
Last year, we came out of our quiet period. Much has happened since, including shipping our v1 Autonomous Map product, mapping one of the world’s largest robotaxi deployments, expanding to new cities, winning large customers and earning recognition such as Best in Show and Startup of the Year at the NAIAS mobility awards. Here is what we are doing now and next…
Real-Time Events & Change Management
As a comprehensive street intelligence company, the CARMERA Autonomous Map suite was built to reflect the most accurate knowledge of the world as it currently exists. But it was also designed to go beyond and provide important foresight that uniquely addresses first observer challenges (e.g. presence or absence of construction), as well as valuable wisdom (e.g. pedestrian or double-parked vehicle risk) derived from years and millions of miles of historical driving video. These capabilities are unique to CARMERA’s “pro-sourced swarm” of probes via our fleet monitoring partnerships.
To serve those facets of intelligence, detecting critical change and propagating updates to the core semantics of HD base maps with automotive-grade accuracy, minimal latency and a globally-scalable cost basis remains the key challenge in our space. We believe our new real-time event and change management engine, now being deployed in varied and complicated environments around the world, including New York, San Francisco, Seoul and Tokyo, marks a major leap forward.
Supported features already include events that have outsized impact on ETA and disengagements like construction and police activity, as well as critical inventory and intersection control changes such as traffic signals, turn restrictions, lane markings and more. We provide API access to this data at all stages, including initial detection in milliseconds, classification within seconds, and fully validated “virtual rails” and traffic annotations redrawn in the base map within minutes.
In designing this system, we learned a lot from our customers who are serious about commercial services — not just R&D or PR demos — and were frustrated by standard definition or incumbent mapping solutions that take months or quarters to update a simple feature. These companies range from fast-moving startups focused on underserved communities, to some of the largest auto OEMs and mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) companies, with large-scale production in mind all over the world.
Speaking of “all over the world,” we are seeing accelerating activity in key overseas regions, including our recent expansion to Japan and South Korea.
In a number of these countries, governments are actively sponsoring AV deployment with safety, economic and environmental goals in mind. One example is related to our work with a Korean auto conglomerate that supplies parts to OEMs, and owns the country’s leading provider of dashcams. Earlier this year, they spun off a new mobility company powered by CARMERA technology, and signed the country’s first contract with the Jeju Island government to begin mapping in preparation for future passenger services.
Jeju is one of Asia’s most popular tourist destinations, with the busiest airline route in the world and nearly double the annual visitors of Hawaii, yet is dependent largely on rental cars for tourists to get around. This results in high crash rates, large numbers of vehicles on the road with low utilization, and increased congestion and emissions. We are helping the government take the first steps to “future-proof” Jeju’s mobility infrastructure in order to meet their ambitious growth and sustainability goals for the next decade.
Growing the Ecosystem
Working with governments, and more generally the broader AV ecosystem, has been a key theme for CARMERA this year. As we often say, for autonomy to work, it has to work for all, which implies a more holistic approach than many technology companies have employed in the past.
One example is a partnership we are working towards with the City of New York, responsible for the largest, and one of the most complex, metropolitan mobility markets in the Western Hemisphere. We have found that maps provide an excellent nexus upon which to forge win-win-win collaborations between companies, governments and the public by making valuable “data exhaust” that goes into building our maps, accessible and useful for planning purposes. The partnership will begin with us sharing data with the NYC DOT, including historical pedestrian density analytics and real-time construction detection events. We are also exploring how they can provide access to key city data sets that allow all parties to work together to improve the accuracy of street inventories, while doing our part to increase private-public transparency.
“New York City has the most complex street environment in the country, and with continued growth in population, employment, and construction, our streets and sidewalks are only getting busier. The ability to collect and analyze high-quality data about pedestrian volumes and traffic events in real time could be very useful in DOT’s work managing our transportation system and designing streets for people. We are exploring a potential data-sharing partnership with CARMERA to see how their tools can support this work.” — Michael Replogle, Deputy Commissioner for Policy, NYC Department of Transportation
This follows an earlier data sharing initiative with the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, and furthers our highly valued partnerships with the New York City Economic Development Corporation’s Urbantech program, facilitated through New Lab and City Hall.
“It’s energizing to see a homegrown company like CARMERA gain traction, but it means even more to see them creating highly desirable jobs here in NYC, and sharing data with the City in their people-first approach to deploying frontier technology. We’re proud to have them as a member of the Urbantech NYC program.” — Alicia Glen, New York City Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development
We are extending this model to other municipalities as well (stay tuned). Here are some highlights of other activities across our ecosystem network:
- Professional Fleets: Our free service for professional fleets to help monitor driver safety and efficiency, while “pro-sourcing” change detection for our maps, continues to expand, including an exclusive relationship with one of the largest commercial fleets in the world.
- Adjacent AV Tech: We are integrating with companies, such as MaaS operating systems, simulation engines and tele-operation services that have identified CARMERA as best-in-class and benefit common customers. We believe interoperability with strong horizontal providers is becoming increasingly important for AV to scale to production.
- Research Institutions: Our academic partnerships have grown, beginning early last year with our NYU data sharing program. Since then, we became the mapping partner for the University of Michigan’s Mcity and TechLab program, Michigan State University’s CANVAS lab and Seoul National University’s AV research initiative. We will continue to forge partnerships that serve our R&D goals and customer demands, and help democratize access to key technology for the growing AV research and edu community.
Eyes on the Road
While today’s announcements mark major progress in our mission to improve mobility and urban life for all, there is a long journey ahead, and we have quickly gotten back to work. We will keep expanding to keep pace— recent examples include key new roles, office growth and geographic presence:
- We promoted Ethan Sorrelgreen to Chief Product Officer, a veteran in mapping from past leadership roles at Apple and Amazon Maps, and who we believe is one of the world’s top thought leaders in AV mapping today.
- We hired Jessica Lazarus, former Chief Digital Officer of New York City and a key force behind initiatives like Sharing Cities Alliance and City transportation policy, to lead ecosystem and business partnerships.
- We continue to expand our teams in New York and Seattle, hailing from companies like Amazon, Apple, Google, MakerBot and Microsoft, and local institutions like Columbia, CUNY, Princeton and University of Washington.
- We also now have satellite offices in Detroit and Seoul, and are frequently present in key regions like the Bay Area, Tokyo and parts of the EU.