Grab’s Next-Generation Map-Making Camera “KartaCams 2” Released

Do you know how many tiny streets are there in an Asian Country? Yes, maybe more than millions:) Well, how drivers can learn and keep in mind that thousands of…
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Do you know how many tiny streets are there in an Asian Country? Yes, maybe more than millions:)

Well, how drivers can learn and keep in mind that thousands of tiny streets? Grab (A developer of a super-app for ride-hailing, food delivery, and digital payments services ) has a clever idea, and their detailed map app “Grabmap” updating and growing day by day. But how?

This is what I’m talking about!

An access road in Indonesia that GrabMap will route driver-partners through.
An access road in Indonesia that GrabMap will route driver-partners through.

Let’s dive in!

GrabMaps

GrabMaps has come a long way since its inception in 2017 thanks to KartaCams—little action cameras mounted on bike helmets or car windshields. These are used to collect high-quality street-level imagery for mapmaking and are captured by driver-partners while they’re ferrying passengers or delivering goods.

The Idea

KartaCams are mounted onto drivers’ helmets or car windshields to collect street imagery. Since then, They’ve deployed thousands KartaCams across Southeast Asia and collected billions of images, to make GrabMaps as precise and context-rich as possible.

The KartaCam 2 is more portable and delivers higher quality images. Early test results for KartaCam 2 have been encouraging. With its dual band GPS (Global Positioning System) module and an extendable antenna, both the position accuracy and the signal stability are much improved compared with the last generation.

In its latest iteration, the KartaCam comes in a much sleeker design, which makes it easier to carry.

KartaCam uses edge artificial intelligence (AI), a combination of edge computing and AI that brings computation closer to the devices collecting data, making collection faster and smarter.

Other key features include 4G and Wi-Fi to allow us to configure the camera remotely, AI to check image quality without having to upload all images to the cloud, and Bluetooth to pair it with a driver-partner’s mobile phone.

Kartacam360 collects panoramic images like this one.

Credit: Grab

But KartaCam only had a 150-degree view. The following year, we built KartaCam360 by piecing four KartaCams together, where images collected can be stitched together to produce one panoramic image. This enabled to gather data with a quality level comparable to that of professional cameras, yet at a cost that was 10 times lower.

New KartaCams 2

Better images, Precise locations

Credit: Grab

Still using edge AI, but much more powerful, KartaCam 2 delivers images of even better quality and boasts more precise location data. It’s also more portable and more intuitive to use.

Here are some key improvements:

  • Four 48-megapixel image sensors with full coverage 360-degree imagery (360 degrees for both horizontal and vertical axes, versus KartaCam’s 84-degree vertical coverage)
  • More accurate and precise positioning (10Hz GPS frequency from only 1Hz, and support for real-time kinematic GPS)
  • LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) compatible: LiDAR is a laser scanner that can accurately measure the distances of surrounding objects. KartaCam 2 is set up to tap into this technology, which will let it deliver even more detailed spatial information.
  • Ergonomic, portable, easy to operate and much more efficient. User testing in Jakarta showed that the time taken to set up the KartaCam 2 is 83 per cent quicker than before.
  • This smart capturing function of the KartaCams has made uploading images to the cloud more cost-effective while decreasing the number of low-quality images. For instance, it automatically retakes images in the event that it captures low-quality ones and can blur out personally identifiable information like faces and car licence plates.

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