Sponsored Q&A With Kevin Bullock Business Development Director, Maxar

Kevin Bullock Maxar business development director

Q: Tell us more about Maxar

“We’re relatively new to the automotive industry yet we date back to the 1950s. We have a division in Palo Alto, California, that from 1956 to 1990 was Ford Aerospace for its space technology so a lot of our technology ties with the automotive industry. Today, we build systems and robotics for use in space such as the five robotic arms on Mars. What’s more relevant to automotive are the satellites and systems we build that monitor the Earth, allowing us to look at every road and every city around the world to map and monitor how they change.”

Q: Who is Maxar working with in the automotive industry?

“We have partnerships that span the last decade with companies like HERE and TomTom and have been a Tier 2 supplier for all of this time. Recently we have become a Tier 1 supplier and have publicly talked about our partnerships with General Motors and with the Toyota Research Institute out of Tokyo. There are many others we are working with that we will soon announce. We also work with ride-share companies like Uber who have a similar use case to the automotive companies but are approaching it in a different way.

Q: What challenges can Maxar products and services solve and what new capabilities are critical to autonomous programs?

“Our biggest value to vehicles that are either fully or semi-autonomous or even with ADAS is that we can build very precise high-quality maps for any location in the world. These can be a source for HD maps and identify where HD maps are out–of-date. Using satellite data, we can create a map of the entire world so that a car knows what’s ahead and what’s beyond the sensor horizon. We can feed this passive information into the vehicle so that it makes the right decision when the time comes.”

Q: What differentiates Maxar from other providers?

“We consider ourselves industry leading in terms of quality. There are thousands of sources of imagery and data collected from airplanes, satellites and ground vehicles but we pride ourselves on our quality in terms of resolution, accuracy and coverage. So, you might take a beautiful picture of Novi, MI, but you might have that picture once every three years whereas our satellites can do it once a week. That comes out of a military specification, just as GPS came out of a military requirement and now millions of people around the world benefit from it. I see Maxar as having that same pedigree of a very high-grade, high-accuracy sensor that now we are able to take advantage in the commercial world. The other differentiation is that we have a lot of passionate problem-solvers, people who have been solving geospatial problems for decades. I’m blown away by the level of talent we have tackling global challenges and emerging technology demands.”

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