Mobileye's approach gained momentum last week when Here announced plans to use Mobileye's sensor data to update its high-resolution maps.
Here, the world's No. 1 supplier of maps for automotive navigation, was purchased in 2015 by Audi, BMW and Daimler for $2.8 billion.
Galves says Mobileye's approach has several advantages. First, it would require no additional hardware. The same cameras that detect road obstacles can capture images of the roadside.
And because those camera images are less detailed than lidar images, they don't generate a big data stream. So the images can easily be uploaded without clogging the vehicle's data pipeline to the cloud.
"You couldn't crowd-source a map with lidar data because it requires such a big pipeline," Galves said. "Our big advantage is that we can leverage technology that is already on the road."
Millions of vehicles will be required to adequately crowd-source the maps. About 15 million vehicles worldwide use Mobileye's obstacle detection software, including enough in North America to map the region's roads, according to the company.
Suppliers are maneuvering to build the data pipeline as automakers prepare to roll out driverless cars over the next three years or so. Last week, Intel Corp. announced plans to buy a 15 percent stake in Here.
The two companies said they will collaborate to develop real-time updates for Here's navigation maps.
In September, Here said it would develop a menu of traffic services to allow drivers to monitor road conditions by using data from competing automakers.
Intel also is developing a 5G modem that will transmit data 10 times faster than present-day modems, said Doug Davis, senior vice president of Intel's automated driving group.
Davis said Intel will introduce its first 5G computer chips next year, and 5G connectivity for vehicles should be widely available around 2020.
"Our timing for 5G and autonomous vehicles aligns nicely," Davis said. "We think it will be a key enabler."
Because Mobileye and Here already do business with most major manufacturers, they appear well-positioned to market their map.
One early customer will be BMW. In July, Intel teamed with Mobileye to help BMW develop driverless cars.
Now the mapmakers hope to persuade other automakers to share their vehicles' camera data.
"We are inclusive," said Mobileye founder Amnon Shashua. "There is a lot to be gained by sharing vehicles and resources. "We are telling the world to come and join us."