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Sacramento starts to map its autonomous future

The city-created maps of key routes will help advance local efforts of robotics and other technology companies

The Sacramento state AV shuttle route which runs 1.2 miles
The Sacramento state AV shuttle route which runs 1.2 miles

The city of Sacramento will partner with Deepen AI and Foresight AI to speed the development and safe deployment of autonomous vehicle (AV) technology for the benefit of the city.


The project will use Deepen AI’s 2D and 3D annotation technology, and Foresight AI’s proprietary, dynamic HD map building solution. The three-month project is slated to begin in February this year, and will focus on building high-definition, 3D maps for three demonstration routes within the city.


Becoming an autonomous-ready city


Recognising that fusing 2D, 3D, and HD data together into detailed and accurately annotated maps is a critical step to enabling safe and reliable autonomous vehicle systems, the city of Sacramento, through its Office of Innovation & Economic Development, is partnering with Deepen AI and Foresight AI to create seed maps that the city can share with AV manufacturers.


City-created maps of these key routes will help advance the local efforts of other individual technology and robotics companies and will speed the safe and reliable deployment of AV systems within the city.


“Sacramento is committed to bringing our residents more shared, clean ways to get around,” said Mayor Darrell Steinberg. “This partnership builds on our momentum toward becoming a centre of innovation in new transportation technologies.”


AV systems rely on precise, accurately labelled map data about the routes they run on as a foundation for safe operation. Such detailed reference maps provide the crucial foundation upon which additional real-time live elements (for example, pedestrians, other vehicles and weather conditions) are perceived and safely navigated.

“This partnership builds on our momentum toward becoming a centre of innovation in new transportation technologies”

Deepen AI’s annotation technology uses advanced artificial intelligence algorithms, combined with human intelligence, to ensure that every physical element on or around the route is identified and accurately labelled for the AV’s software.


Deploying drones to capture data


The Deepen team will annotate ground data captured by Foresight AI’s drones, which are deployed with advanced sensing technologies, such as lidar, cameras, survey-grade GPS, and inertial measurement units.


Foresight will process the multi-sensor data collected over the designated routes and generate high-definition, highly-accurate, colourised, 3D maps. Foresight AI will also provide a web-based data portal for exploring and visualising the 3D map data with open access to everyone.


The project will initially focus on three demonstration routes (see maps below) chosen by Sacramento:

  • The Downtown Loop, a 1.7 mile loop covering J Street and L Street from 10th Street to 19th Street;
  • The Sacramento State AV Shuttle Route, 1.2 miles linking University/65th Street Station to a Folsom Boulevard/65th Street/Elvas Avenue loop
  • The Franklin-24th Loop, 3.5 miles of Franklin Boulevard, Fruitridge Road, 24th Street, and Sutterville Road.

“We are attracting the attention of urban technology start-ups because of our willingness to develop alongside them,” said Sacramento chief innovation officer Louis Stewart. “This partnership allows us to continue shaping Sacramento into an autonomous-ready city.”


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The 1.7-mile downtown loop
The 1.7-mile downtown loop
The 3.5-mile Franklin-24th loop
The 3.5-mile Franklin-24th loop
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