China’s leading digital map provider has just offered some clarity on how autonomous driving companies can gain access to crucial maps.
Gaode Map, which is backed by Alibaba, will be offering access to their high-precision maps to partner companies for 100 yuan ($14.88) per car per year, the company said on Thursday.
It’s not clear what the pricing was prior to the announcement. Map access arrangements vary across the emerging industry, where high-precision maps are valuable assets crucial for navigating and optimizing routes in autonomous driving. China’s major autonomous driving player Baidu, for instance, relies heavily on its own Baidu Map.
Gaode said the 100 yuan fee is a “cost-level price,” meaning it doesn’t intend to make a profit from the maps.
Gaode is Baidu Map’s major rival, and its mobile app also includes ride-hailing services provided by giants including Didi. It’s unclear if Baidu also offers a similar access deal for its partners.
Gaode says the maps offered this time are able to satisfy the needs of level-three autonomous driving. Level-three cars can drive on their own, but still require a driver’s occasional involvement.