Amap Software, a Chinese web mapping, navigation and location-based services provider, has made its HD map and data services free of charge for automakers during their development and testing of self-driving cars.

The HD map service is a substitute solution for both automakers and map service providers to the conventional buyer-seller relationship of offline map data, through a real-time kinematic (RTK) data service platform

RTK offers seamless service and clear pricing, while reducing the cost of app development and improving update speed.

"As the focus shifts from smartphone and PC to smartphone and automobile, Amap will lend its full support to the development of automotive industry."

Amap automobile business unit president Wei Dong said: "The new era of map data will see it move away from a specialist, heterogeneous product and into an ecological resource built and shared for the development of industries with an infrastructure similar to that of utilities."

Dong further added that the company will be providing free HD map and data services to partner automakers, replacing the traditional map data with a dynamic big data service that will help build the smart travel model of the future.

Amap's automobile business unit general manager Rong explained that the company has noticed a multi-stage data acquisition system that includes specialised professional, public and data collection vehicles.

Rong said: "With this system, Amap can efficiently balance quality, speed, cost and coverage and guarantee that the data is both highly accurate and comprehensive, as it becomes a dynamic map that's live in real-time.

"Based on our advantages, Amap will further strengthen its position as a market leader in HD map tech with the support of our big data and cloud computing capacity."

Rong also added that the company uses smart cloud dispatch system to monitor, collect and feedback real-time road traffic updates in the most efficient way with the vehicles best suited for the situations.

The Chinese map service provider said that in December it will launch version 2.0 of its Amap Auto, the first internet in-vehicle navigation system in China.

The company further said that its new 2.0 version will feature Amap's AI engine, a new generation service engine that provides the optimised travel services customized to individual user's needs and different driving conditions.

Amap and Alibaba's Mobile Business Group president Yongfu Yu said: "Amap's mobile app is now the No.1 ranking smartphone map app in the industry with the highest number of daily active users.

"As the focus shifts from smartphone and PC to smartphone and automobile, Amap will lend its full support to the development of automotive industry."

Amap is one of the first companies in China to collect HD map data and carry out technological research and development.