CARMERA: Live-Mapping Cities for our Autonomous Future


Recently, there has been a lot of hype around self driving cars. We know they’re coming, the question is only when.

A big factor in this equation is mapping. Autonomous cars and robots need 3D maps to know where they are. These vehicles are built with brains, but require eyes and an accurate memory of the world around them. Modern on-board sensors are proving to be fairly effective as eyes, but still make mistakes. Maps are what provide the spatial memory for AVs to confirm they are seeing what they think they’re seeing and plan for things they can’t yet see, like what’s around the corner or even blocks away.

Recent advances in AV technology have greatly increased the need for 3D maps. Starship Technologies, a recent investment of mine, had to build out mapping themselves. Ideally, they could have used a service rather than allocating internal resources.

This is where CARMERA comes in. CARMERA is a street-level intelligence platform that provides real-time 3D maps for autonomous vehicles. Their mission is to provide autonomous vehicles with the mapping data they need to provide safe and secure transportation.

I’m very excited to announce that Matrix Partners’ is leading the Series A investment in Ro Gupta, Justin Day, and their company CARMERA. I met Justin, previously CTO of Makerbot, after selling GrabCAD to Stratasys. Justin is the super talented heads down technology guy and Ro has an incredible business development acumen that is often undervalued in this space.

While mapping for autonomous vehicles is the future, CARMERA is also building tools that are immediately valuable for many other use cases. Their newly launched Site Intelligence platform provides on demand 3D reconstruction and site analytics data. Rich data like this hasn’t been available before — people like architects and urban planners have had to use old, coarse, incomplete data from Google map tools, or hire slow, expensive surveying teams to get the information they need. Now they can use CARMERA Site Intelligence to access fresh, detailed 3D map data on demand to visualize and plan projects.

What’s really cool about this product is that since this type of data hasn’t been available before, it will be fascinating to see how people start to use it beyond the first obvious use cases. I’m very excited to be working with Justin (again) and Ro and to support CARMERA’s journey in enabling our autonomous future.