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Carmera, the mapping startup for autonomous vehicles, raises $20 million

Autonomous vehicles need more than a brain to operate safely in a world filled with obstacles. They need maps. Or more specifically, self-driving vehicles need maps that constantly refresh and can deliver important information — like that sudden lane closure due to construction or a double-parked vehicle — so they can take the safest and most efficient route possible. This specific need has provided an opening for startups in what once looked like a locked-up mapping market dominated by a few giants. Carmera, a New York-based mapping and data analytics startup, is one of them. The company, which came out of stealth two years ago, has now raised $20 million in a Series B funding round led by GV, formerly known as Google Ventures. Carmera previously raised $6.5 million. The company announced the funding raise Thursday along with a few other updates, including a new feature on its autonomous mapping product and a partnership with New York City. The capital will be used to hire more talent and expand. “We’ll be doing the most aggressive hiring we’ve ever done this next year,” Carmera co-founder and CEO Ro Gupta told TechCrunch, adding that the company will mostly focus on building out its New York and Seattle offices. Carmera, which has about 25 employees, plans to have more than 50 by the end of next year. “The money also allows us to be more prospective than simply reacting to customer needs,” Gupta added. In other words, Carmera can move into new markets where it suspects there will be a need in the future, not just wait for a call from their customers. One of those customers is Voyage, the autonomous driving startup that currently operates self-driving cars in retirement communities. Carmera has an interesting business model, and one that’s likely attractive to investors looking for startups with a present-day revenue stream. The company describes itself as a street intelligence platform for autonomy. Its main product is the Carmera autonomous map, a high-definition map for autonomous vehicle customers like automakers, suppliers and robotaxis. The twist here is that the company uses data gleaned from…

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