Ushr Inc., a Detroit-based creator and provider of high-definition mapping technology and software for autonomous vehicles, has received $10 million in Series A funding, commensurate with its spin-off from GeoDigital Inc. The investment was led by Forte Ventures with participation from EnerTech Capital, Emerald Technology Ventures, and GM Ventures.
The Series A investment will allow Ushr to advance the development of lower cost data acquisition technologies, automated map production using artificial intelligence techniques to build a fleet of data collection vehicles, and to test in-vehicle software on automotive grade embedded hardware.
With more than 20 years of experience in mapping engineering structures, power lines, railways, and roadways, the Ushr team has spent the past three years developing the first production map software for autonomous driving. The company has mapped the entire U.S. and Canada controlled access highway network with less than four inches of deviation, providing accurate long and medium distance sensing systems to help autonomous vehicles to safely navigate.
“Ushr provides a long-range view that allows the vehicle to proactively plan safer routes and anticipate roadway changes instead of merely reacting to sensor inputs,” says Bruce Gordon, Ushr’s CEO. “In a recent road test comparison, our nearest competition had dozens of lane touches and several crossovers; our maps had zero touches and zero crossovers.”
In combination with vehicle sensors and on-road cameras, Ushr’s high-definition mapping technology conveys “real world” detail to autonomous vehicles. The company’s control algorithms are constantly interpreting and communicating key details from sensors to the vehicle control system, allowing for more precise steering, safer vehicle control, and directional predictability, Gordon adds.
The technology currently applies to Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, but has a role in every stage of development within the autonomous driving technology spectrum. Ushr is currently working with major automotive manufacturers and suppliers, including General Motors Co. and its GM Ventures, to integrate Usher software and map technology into future products.