US: Mapillary, the street-level imagery platform that uses computer vision to scale and automate mapping, has launched a dashcam that’s been customized for mapping purposes. Built by Pittasoft in collaboration with Mapillary, the dashcam is lightweight, flexible, and able to capture anything from one to thirty frames per second, depending on the mapping needs. The images are geo-positioned on the map within hours of uploading to Mapillary and processed with computer vision that generates map data for fixing maps. Mapillary CEO Jan Erik Solem says that the launch is set to help logistics companies deliver on increasingly ambitious promises around shipping:
“Broken maps is a big problem for many reasons. To most people, it’s annoying when an incorrect map means that you can’t find the place you’re going to, but for logistics companies under tight deadlines, this can have a big impact on how many deliveries they are able to make that day and eventually on their bottom line financial results. Equipping delivery fleets with the Mapillary dashcam means that these companies have access to near real-time map and location data through the Mapillary platform, without drivers doing any extra work. This will allow them to plan their route around unpredictable road conditions and roadwork, improve addressing and delivery locations, and also see the place drivers are going to before going there.”
The dashcam requires minimum involvement from the driver, as the camera starts to capture imagery as soon as the van leaves the depot. To logistics companies, this means that they’re able to put the dashcam in the vehicle that makes the most sense depending on where they’re lacking recent map data. Unlike other mapping platforms, the imagery on Mapillary is processed with computer vision and opened up so that anyone can access and license both the imagery and the data.
The news is announced as leading logistics firms face mounting pressure to deliver more goods faster. Amazon, which spent some $28 billion on shipping in 2018 alone, announced earlier this year that they are rolling out one-day shipping to all Prime customers in North America, while Walmart announced in September that they’re rolling out unlimited grocery deliveries throughout the US. Meanwhile, 84% of shoppers say they’re unlikely to return to a retailer after just one negative shipping experience. According to Solem, this puts access to fresh map data high on the agenda:
“Access to fresh and accurate map data is becoming increasingly crucial for logistics companies and we’ve built this dashcam with Pittasoft specifically because logistics companies and others have asked for it. Some logistics companies are even building their own in-house mapping teams, but regardless of whether they have an in-house mapping team or not, they still need fresh map data to keep the map updated. That’s where the Mapillary dashcam comes in, and we’re already working with several delivery companies in the UK and US who are looking to use the dashcams in their fleets.”