Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon

Nissan Joins VW and BMW on Mobileye Mapping for Autonomous Driving

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  • Mobileye building ‘Global Roadbook’ of paths, landmarks
  • Chipmaker behind Nissan’s ProPilot system deepens relationship

Nissan Motor Co. joined German automakers BMW AG and Volkswagen AG in allowing the driving data collected by Mobileye NV chips and sensors to be used in a collective map to enable autonomous driving.

The Japanese automaker has agreed to share information that will be merged with other carmakers’ data to create precise maps, Mobileye said in a statement Tuesday. The pact deepens an existing relationship between Nissan and Mobileye, with the two already working together for the ProPilot driver-assistance system that debuted last year.

Mobileye has been lobbying traditional car manufacturers to both install the mapping technology and allow the merging of that data into one collaborative mapping effort. Chairman Amnon Shashua has called technology that gathers crowd-sourced, real-time mapping data from automakers’ fleets the “missing piece” of fully autonomous driving.

“We now have significant commitments from multiple global automakers to generate and share data,” Shashua said in the statement. The map of drivable paths and landmarks Mobileye is building, called Global RoadBook, will be a “critical input within autonomous vehicle systems.”

Signing up automakers to share mapping data moves Mobileye closer to building a map that can become the basis for an industry standard, Joe Spak, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, wrote after the company reached a similar agreement with Volkswagen in February. Volkswagen, Nissan and BMW delivered roughly 1 in 5 vehicles sold globally last year, based on company statements and IHS Markit data.

The pact with Nissan is the first major deal with an automaker Mobileye has announced since Intel Corp. said last month it would acquire the Jerusalem-based company for about $15 billion.