By Lea De Vylder
Civil Maps hosted its first Autonomous Vehicle Demo Day at StartX in Palo Alto in early August. As a summer intern, I had the chance to work on this event, which gave me experience supporting a live showcase and engaging automotive clients as well as the public.
Bright and early, we began to set up for the big day ahead. While drinking coffee and eating pastries, we all got busy with our assigned tasks. Some had BBQ preparation jobs, while others on the team were tasked with decorating the event space in black and orange. Our demo team also did some dry-runs of the route and polished up the cars.
As show time approached, an eager crowd began to gather at the entrance. When the clock struck 10:00, we opened up the doors and started receiving guests at the registration table. Although I was stationed at the table, most of my day was spent running around, greeting guests, and directing them to their scheduled demo appointments. With check-in after check-in, the event space at StartX filled up pretty rapidly. We were excited to share what we’ve been doing and to chat with our guests, many who made big efforts to come visit with us. Our staff talked to many small groups of attendees and answered various questions about our core technologies: sensor fusion, localization in 6D, Augmented Reality Maps, crowdsourced edge mapping, Synthetics, etc.
Throughout the day, we were running our demo cars for various clients, industry partners, and investors. They got to see how things work, up close and live. In the demo cars, we also highlighted different technical accomplishments, such as being able to deliver localization in 6 degrees of freedom, edge map creation, and map usage — in ways that require exceptionally low computational resources and a low data footprint. From the massive amount of raw sensor data generated by autonomous vehicles, Civil Maps reduces and compresses that data (GB/km) into lightweight map formats (kB/km). These processes are part of what allows us to provide robust, centimeter-accurate localization and cognition to the vehicle. Demo car passengers were able to see this first-hand. They were also able to check out the cars, many noting the absence of GPUs in our trunks. Our technology can run off of simple ARM processors and ODROIDS.
As the day came to a close, it was fun to see how our plans materialized and how the team came together. I started working at Civil Maps shortly before our Demo Day, so it was definitely a fast, hard sprint to get ready! And it was well worth it. I learned so much in a short period of time. If you’re interested in joining a hardworking, close-knit team, reach out to Civil Maps and make an intro: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also check out our website for upcoming events https://civilmaps.com/events. P.S. I hear we are also having another demo day in a matter of weeks. You can email email@example.com to inquire.