On Thursday at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the electric vehicle maker Polestar announced that its upcoming Polestar 3 SUV will be one of the first vehicles in the world to use Google’s new high-definition map.
Unlike the Google Maps you might access on your phone, the new HD map is much more accurate, pinpointing your position on the road down to an inch or less instead of several feet. Although that accuracy is not particularly useful to someone on a smartphone, it’s vitally important for partially or fully automated driving systems that need to know which lane they’re in or exactly where a road obstacle might be.
Google has evidently been building its HD map for some time—in 2017, its Street View mapping cars started sporting lidar scanners. And I’m not entirely surprised that Google is debuting the new map in a Polestar—the young automaker was also the first to use Android Automotive OS, which debuted in the Polestar 2 but can now be found in an increasing number of new vehicles from many different automakers.
“Building on our long history of mapping the world, Google’s new HD map is designed specifically for automakers, and we’re excited to continue partnering with leading car manufacturers like Polestar to improve the safety and comfort of drivers everywhere,” said Jorgen Behrens, VP and general manager of Geo Automotive at Google.
We expect that the new HD map will also show up in the closely related Volvo EX90 electric SUV, which will share a platform—and eventually a South Carolina factory—with the Polestar 3.
Polestar also had some news for Polestar 2 owners at CES. Now, owners can interact with their cars via compatible Google Assistant-enabled devices. You can hear the current battery status, turn on or off climate preconditioning, and unlock the doors, among other things. For now, this feature is only available to US-market Polestar 2s, but the automaker says it will add more markets in time.
Listing image by Polestar