Volvo, Polestar First to Get Google HD Maps to Aid Self Driving, CES 2023

Graham Hope

January 9, 2023

2 Min Read

Polestar and Volvo will be the first automakers to benefit from Google’s new high-definition mapping technology.

The Swedish brands – both in the stable of Chinese giant Geely – announced the news at 

CES.

The very first car to get the tech will be the Polestar 3, with Volvo’s EX90 following soon after. Both models share the same platform, Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA2).

Google’s HD mapping essentially provides extra layers of data over and above the normal Google Maps data, such as precise lane markings and positioning of localized objects such as road signs. This is served to a vehicle’s assisted driving system through Google Automotive Services and helps it position itself more accurately on the road.

With the HD map, Polestar and Volvo will be able to combine their sensor technology and Google’s data to facilitate and enhance their driver-assistance tech. In the longer term, advanced autonomous driving functionality is likely to be supported by the HD maps.

The Polestar 3 is a premium SUV alternative to the Tesla Model X that was 

unveiled last year with an array of advanced tech, including Nvidia Drive computing power that serves as the brain of the vehicle, processing data from the car’s sensors and cameras to enable advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) safety features.

Five radar modules, five external cameras and 12 external ultrasonic sensors are standard on all Polestar 3s, delivering a wide spread of ADAS features, while a high-spec Pilot Pack will be available to order later this year which adds lidar from U.S. company 

Luminar, another control unit from Nvidia, three cameras, four ultrasonic sensors and cleaning for the front and rear-view cameras.

It is thought the Polestar 3 will ultimately deliver hands-free Level 3 automated functionality, as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers. This constitutes the vehicle driving itself in certain circumstances.

The EX90, meanwhile, was unveiled in November and hailed as the safest Volvo ever. It comes with five radars, eight cameras, two interior cameras and 16 ultrasonic sensors, and a roof-mounted lidar sensor from Luminar. This is complemented by Nvidia’s Xavier and Orin processors and Volvo’s in-house software to create a real-time, 360-degree view of surroundings. 

Again, it is believed that the EX90 will ultimately deliver Level 3 self-driving capability.

Jorgen Behrens, VP and general manager of Geo Automotive at Google, hailed the partnerships, saying: “Building on our long history of mapping the world, Google’s new HD map is designed specifically for automakers and we’re excited to continue partnering with leading car manufacturers like Polestar and Volvo to improve the safety and comfort of drivers everywhere.” 

Meanwhile, both Polestar and Volvo have announced that owners of certain models can now control their car remotely using a compatible Google Assistant-enabled device. This allows functionality such as checking vehicle status, unlocking doors and heating the cabin on cold mornings. Drivers in the United States will be the first to benefit.

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