Google’s new HD Maps to arrive for these EVs: What is it

Google’s native Android Automotive operating system is getting updated with a new feature. The tech giant has confirmed the roll-out of a new high-definition (HD) version of Google Maps for vehicles that supports Android Auto. This new HD version of Google Maps will offer granular details that weren’t available earlier, including — lane markings, road signs and traffic barriers. Google has also mentioned that the first vehicles that will be receiving the new HD Maps will be the Volvo EX90 and the Polestar 3.
The EX90 is a new flagship electric vehicle (EV) from the Swedish car maker Volvo that is expected to be unveiled later in 2023. Meanwhile, the PoleStar 3 will be the first EV SUV from the Volvo-backed performance company. Both EVs will use Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA2) platform and will even access Google’s native in-car operating system, Android Auto.
How Google Maps HD can help the EV brands
The latest HD version of Google Maps can be an important step towards more precise, safer and advanced driver-assistance features for brands like Volvo and Polestar. This new addition is also said to help “unsupervised” driving features like Volvo’s Pilot Assist. The automaker says that this driving feature will allow drivers to take their hands off the steering wheel and eyes off the road for certain stretches of highway driving. The driver-assist functions are powered by the Nvidia computing system on each vehicle. This system will also process road data provided by Google’s HD maps, along with inputs from vehicle sensors like cameras, radar and lidar.

Other smart driving features coming to Volvo, Polestar vehicles
Apart from the new HD versions of Google Maps, Volvo and Polestar are also introducing remote check-in capabilities through Google smart home devices. This feature will enable users to ask Google Assistant to check on their vehicle’s battery levels or to warm up the car from their homes. Initially, this feature will be available only in the US and will roll out for other markets later in 2023.
How these new additions will work
Google has only mentioned that the feature will be exclusive to automakers that use Google Automotive Services but didn’t reveal any details about how these new maps are being created. The company also explained that Google apps and services like Assistant, Maps and the Play Store will be directly integrated into the vehicles that support Google’s Automotive Services. This means users won’t need their phones to access these apps and services. However, this is different from the built-in operating system Android Automotive, which is also powered by Android software.
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