Intel company Mobileye has announced a partnership with mapping authority Ordnance Survey to create super-detailed maps of UK roads, down to things like where the manholes and drain covers are.
The Israeli company specialises in collision-avoidance tech, which of course requires vehicles fitted up with vision sensors. What are seeing-eye cars good for? Mapping! Just ask Google.
Announced at CES, the partnership will see Ordnance Survey's fleets fitted with Mobileye's sensor tech, allowing vehicles to collect oodles of data as they drive around. That data will then be compared and cross-referenced with existing maps and datasets, and combined into mega-accurate 3D layouts of the roads as they actually are, not as they're supposed to be (read: potholes).
This will be helpful to councils and companies that need to navigate or repair roads, or drive to the specific location of something – like a particular signpost, streetlamp or junction box.
It's also handy for knowing where there are overhanging trees, power poles, overhead cables, internet cabinets and so on.
A pilot project ran last year, so there are already some Ordnance Survey vehicles with Mobileye 8 data-collection sensors attached.
Mobileye CEO Amnon Shashua tells TechCrunch:
"Using maps to improve operations between businesses and cities will help bring us closer to the realisation of smart cities and safer roads."
Ordnance Survey says this kind of data will make a big difference to how vehicles and people interact in the future – it'll certainly be handy for autonomous cars, and maybe some of those potholes will actually get fixed without anyone drawing a phallus round them.
We can dream.