Geo Mapping to Enable China’s Autonomous Driving Race
China has the ambitious goal of 10% to 20% autonomous vehicle penetration by 2030; with semi-autonomous vehicles for sale by 2021. The roadmap to full autonomy is supported through increased focus on geo-mapping technologies. Mapping contenders include NavInfo (which, along with Tencent and GIC, took a 10% share of HERE and created a Joint Venture (JV)) and AutoNavi (Alibaba US$1.5 billion acquisition in 2014), with at least 14 firms licensed to conduct geo-mapping in China. These leverage the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS), with 210,00 kilometers of China’s highways already mapped. BDS is the Chinese response to the U.S.-founded Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) system. The technology’s positioning services and devices equip more than 4 million taxis, long-haul buses, and cargo trucks. Since 2018, BDS has exceeded the number of GPS satellites (35 versus 31). It is expected to become global by 2020, with claims of performance to far exceed that of GPS.
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