Kingwaytek Technology, a high-definition electronic mapping service provider, has been in the news off late, alongside its self-driving technology partners, for its various initiatives aimed at bringing autonomous vehicles to the roads of Taiwan.
The company is nothing short of a pioneer in Taiwan’s digital mapping industry, having been one of the first companies to enter this space.
Speaking about the company, Renee Lin, Director and Head of Sales & Marketing, says: “Kingwaytek is the main provider for digital maps in Taiwan with more than 70% of the market shares. Many cars and mobile phone leading companies use our digital map solution. Kingwaytek has always been committed to developing digital maps with multiple applications, not limited to navigation, and can be used from cluster maps to centimetre-level high-definition maps for self-driving cars.”
This Taipei-based company has previously remained a mapping data provider for some of the largest technology companies in the world, the likes of which include Google and Apple.
On asking Lin about what the partnerships were like, she explains: “We cooperated with Google and Apple Maps in 2005 and 2017 respectively. The key to winning the favour of the two major companies is that Kingwaytek insists on long-term investment to keep the database up-to-date and with 95% accuracy. Due to economies of scale, only companies with the largest market share can have sufficient resources to cover maintenance costs.”
Developing C-V2X Technology
As a major player in the digital mapping industry, the company has also been quite heavily involved in the Internet of Vehicles (IoV) space, one area which has been steadily gaining importance over the years just connected technology becomes more and more mainstream.
“Kingwaytek has developed from digital maps to navigation application services, and has accumulated more than 6 million users. Therefore, it has accumulated enough road condition information to form the basis for the development of Internet of Vehicles applications,” says Lin.
“Kingwaytek provides telematics services for many international car companies, including BMW and Toyota. Currently, we are developing the C-V2X technology and applying it to strengthen the safety of self-driving vehicles. In the future, we also want to apply IoV to the development of smart vehicles.
“Autoking is a network-based platform that connects cars, roads, and clouds. In addition to providing traffic and life information services for car owners, it also provides road condition information and value-added services, such as podcasts, video, car monitoring, and so on. Many car companies use our Autoking system including BMW, Toyota, Porsche and Audi,” Lin added, speaking about Autoking and Kingwaytek’s relationships with OEMs in supporting them with their connected car technology.”
Chunghwa Telecom is one of the biggest stakeholders in Kingwaytek. As our conversation progressed, I was curious to know if Chunghwa played a part in supporting Kingwaytek’s connected vehicle endeavours. To this, Lin replied: “The development of IoV requires the cooperation of both communication network and system software. Chunghwa Telecom is Taiwan’s largest telecommunications company, and has the most complete communication network resources.
“Meanwhile, Kingwaytek is the leading company in the field of smart transportation and can develop and integrate the IoV platform. Both parties are developing market-leading applications, and the alliance will be able to achieve a win-win effect and create higher value-added uses.”
Electronic maps have become the locomotive for driving various industries.
I wanted to know more about some of the new technologies that Kingwaytek is developing using Traffic Big Data.
“Kingwaytek’s own product NaviKing Navigation APP is the best example of using traffic big data,” said Lin. “By using traffic big data, navigation software can predict future road conditions, and can also calculate and analyse current road conditions while driving, which help car owners avoid traffic jams and make arrival time more accurate.
“One of the smart transportation products developed by Kingwaytek is called LocalKing Transit Service, an APP with all the public transportation transfer information in Taiwan. For example, how to take public transportation to your destination, how much will it cost, and how long will it take to arrive? Our APP can help you calculate and plan, as long as you have a handheld device.
“In the process of developing smart transportation, our company uses private transportation to connect with users through NaviKing Navigation APP.
“For public transportation, we provide services through Localking Transit Service APP. Through these two apps, we can collect more instant messages and use these data to optimize the user experience,” adds Lin.
Kingwaytek is playing quite the part in furthering autonomous vehicle technology in Taiwan, and if recent news is anything to go by, the company has quite a few interesting projects in the pipeline. For example, Kingwaytek recently started testing self-driving buses adopting the C-V2X technology. I wanted to know more about this endeavour.
“Kingwaytek has the most self-driving operation fields in Taiwan and each field already has self-driving cars running on the road. We also apply the C-V2X technology to advise oncoming self-driving cars about when the traffic light will turn green or red. By doing so, the car can smoothly stop in advance and will be safer when passing through the intersection,” says Lin.
“From the development of digital maps, traffic big data platforms, IoV, navigation software to high-definition maps, Kingwaytek has established the foundation of the self-driving platform. In the future, Kingwaytek will continue to put our efforts into developing self-driving technology and vehicle integration platforms.”
The work on autonomous technology doesn’t just end with this. According to a recent announcement, Kingwaytek and NVIDIA are partnering on development of AI HD maps, a move that is expected to have a significant impact in the digital industry mapping industry.
“NVIDIA is a strategic partner of Kingwaytek, and the cooperation with Nvidia triggered our intention to develop a self-driving system,” explained Lin. “The HD maps make the self-driving car able to understand its precise position and to navigate to the destination. Kingwaytek also provides customized HD map services to help partners who want to develop self-driving cars.
“Electronic maps have become the locomotive for driving various industries. From navigation software, store locations analyse systems to self-driving systems, all required digital maps to complete the development. In the future, Kingwaytek will continue to use electronic maps to explore the possibility of offering a wider range of services for various industries,” concludes Lin.