The news that TechLab at Mcity cohort-member DeepMap had been acquired by chipmaker Nvidia in a partnership that builds toward the development of high-definition maps for the autonomous vehicle industry did not surprise Nick Moroz, Assistant Director of Entrepreneurial Practice at the CFE.

“This acquisition is a major achievement for the promising startup and provides a wonderful learning environment for the TechLab at Mcity students,” said Moroz.

DeepMap joined TechLab at Mcity in the Winter semester of 2021 and along with DeepMap team mentors Ronghua Zhang, Marlene Wan, and Chen Chen, selected four students to join a cohort: Chunkai Yao, Rucha Apte, Pranav Chaudary, and Elton Lin. Data Science student Janpreet Singh joined the team in Fall 2021. 

Birdseye view of car driving around Block M painted in the middle of McityTechLab at Mcity is the preeminent company-in-residence program for early-stage advanced mobility companies in the connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) industry through the work of elite and technically skilled students. Each year six startups and 24 students participate in a yearlong project associated with critical challenges to the wider adoption of CAV technologies. 

“DeepMap has a clear and ambitious vision, which is to provide the best high-definition mapping solutions to enable safe and robust self-driving technology,” said Elton Lin (BSE ‘22 Computer Science). “When working on our project, we are given a lot of freedom in both design and implementation with a strict development process, but that definitely ensures the quality of the products.”

Lin said the student team constantly received feedback from their mentors and team lead. Lin felt that everyone at DeepMap was very passionate and that the workplace was very diverse, creating an inclusive environment that helped drive innovation.

“A strength of the program is the recruitment of promising startups that are ambitious and dedicated to solving major challenges in the CAV industry,” said Moroz.

Founded in 2016 and headquartered in Palo Alto, California, with offices in Beijing and Guangzhou, China, the DeepMap team felt partnering with the University of Michigan and TechLab at Mcity program was a great opportunity and mutually beneficial.

“Working with a talented group of people at DeepMap as a Techlab at Mcity cohort, strengthened my technical as well as soft skills,” said Rucha Apte (MSE ‘22 Electrical Engineering and Computer Science). “The dynamic and fast-paced culture of DeepMap gave me a lot of freedom to explore and equip myself with the necessary background to hone my problem-solving skills.”

Working diligently on the development of 2D and 3D high-definition map creation techniques utilizing deep learning and map labeling tools, the outcome of the project will lead toward the creation of useful maps for the CAV industry of the Mcity living lab as well as the surrounding region. 

“This is the second acquisition of a company while in the TechLab at Mcity program and shows the prominence of this important co-curricular offering to engineering and technical students,” said Moroz.

Congratulations to both DeepMap and their student team at TechLab at Mcity.

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