At DMP North America, we believe HD maps are an integral piece of hands-free and autonomous driving technologies. Below you’ll find answers to commonly asked questions about high-definition maps in general and about DMP North America specifically.

Q: What are high-definition maps?

A: DMP’s high-definition maps (HD maps) are centimeter-level, feature-rich, representations of lanes, roads, objects, and the surrounding environment. Automotive HD maps include information about lane markings, road edges, speed limits, signs, traffic signals, and other features that are critical for vehicles with advanced driver assistance systems. HD maps work in conjunction with active safety sensors to aid vehicles in knowing where they are on the road and whether it is appropriate to activate semi-autonomous systems in that area. HD maps are critical in making ADAS and autonomous technologies feel more natural.

DMP’s HD maps enable vehicles to anticipate roadway features like lane markers, road signs, curves, and barriers, even when other sensors are unable to see them. In this way, our maps function much like a human driver’s memory of the road, providing vehicles with a long-range view that allows the vehicle to proactively anticipate trajectory changes instead of merely reacting to short-range sensor inputs.

Q: What makes DMP’s HD maps unique?

A: DMP’s technology provides an exceptionally accurate inventory of roadway features, such as lane markings, lane widths, shoulders, and barriers; road objects like signs, overhead clearance, and traffic signals; geometric road features like curvature, slope, and camber; and virtual road features like centerlines, with centimeter precision. DMP’s technology enables more precise steering, propulsion, and safer vehicle control.

Q: Why do ADAS systems need HD maps?

A: ADAS technologies rely on a variety of sensors, like cameras, GNSS, LiDAR, and radar, to perceive their environment. While these active sensors are highly advanced, they are limited in certain driving scenarios, such as rain, fog, snow, and direct sunlight, in urban canyons, and in areas with lots of curvy roads. HD maps overcome these limitations by providing precise information about the roadway in all weather, lighting, and sky view conditions. HD maps are an ideal source of backup information should other sensors fail during hands-free driving situations.

Q: How do vehicles use HD maps?

A: Vehicles using autonomous technology can utilize HD maps to localize themselves within their environment, plan routes, and make decisions about how to navigate the road. HD maps help vehicles to understand their position relative to the road and other objects, which is critical for safe and efficient driving. HD maps can also be used for path planning — anticipating upcoming changes in the road, such as curves or intersections, allowing the car to adjust its speed and trajectory in a natural way.

Q: Do all ADAS vehicles use HD maps?

A: The choice to use HD maps is up to the vehicle manufacturer. We know from our experience that vehicles that use HD maps score high marks for driver comfort, confidence, and safety performance. DMP believes driver confidence in these systems leads to greater consumer adoption of hands-free technology.

Q: How does DMP create and update HD maps?

A: Our operators routinely scan roadways all over the globe with a fleet of trucks equipped with LiDAR and cameras capable of capturing minute details and data about the road and surrounding environment. That data is then processed and analyzed to create a detailed map. The maps are regularly updated to reflect changes in the road, such as construction or new traffic patterns.

Q: What are the different uses for HD map data?

A: There are many different use cases for HD map data, and DMP can work with companies and government agencies to offer customizable map data for individual project needs. Beyond self-driving cars, HD maps can be useful in helping snowplows stay on the road during inclement weather; can help distribution providers move trailers and other cargo around parking lots and factory floors, and can aid in determining when roads need repair or lane markings need to be repainted. Contact us to discuss your project needs in depth.

Q: Which countries have you mapped out?

A: We currently have mapped more than 500,000 miles (805,000 km) in North America, and have gathered data in Japan, South Korea, Europe, and the Middle East. We are rapidly expanding into these new regions.

Q: What kinds of jobs are available at DMP North America?

A: DMP North America hires for a wide variety of jobs. We need engineers with automotive and ADAS backgrounds, specialists in geographic information systems, software engineers, mathematicians, project managers, drivers, sales personnel, and more. Click here for more career information.

Q: Where are you located?

A: DMP North America is headquartered in Livonia, Mich., and has a facility in Lompoc, Calif. Click here for contact information.