Google could soon give Polestar owners an edge when they're navigating around town. The search giant is debuting "HD" driving maps that will come first to the Polestar 3 SUV. The upgrade will provide current, extra-detailed road info ranging from lanes to road signs. The content will not only help with existing driver aids like Pilot Assist, but should prove vital for eventual self-driving features using the 3's optional, LiDAR-based Pilot Pack.
The Polestar 3 is expected to arrive in late 2023 and sell for $85,300 in the US. You should also see the upgraded maps in the Volvo EX90. We've asked Google if and when you'll see HD maps reach other cars, particularly from brands that aren't using Google built-in (aka Android Automotive). We'll let you know if the company can share more. On top of Polestar, companies like GM, Honda, Renault and Volvo (Polestar's sibling brand) have committed to using the Android OS in at least some of their vehicles.
The enhancement doesn't come as a shock. Even partial autonomy requires very precise location data to ensure smooth navigation — you don't want your car choosing the wrong lane or missing a turn. Google also has an extensive understanding of driving maps thanks to Waymo's robotaxi efforts, not to mention a strong financial incentive to improve its mapping tech. The more detailed maps could encourage other automakers to adopt Google's apps and services.
You won't need to wait for a new EV to use some new Google-powered features. An update rolling out to the Polestar 2 sedan adds Google Assistant-based remote actions. You can precondition the climate control system, unlock doors, check the battery level (including estimated range) and otherwise handle basic tasks without reaching for your phone or walking to the car. The feature is only available in the US at present, but it will eventually reach other countries.