Australia is on the move! Not only from an ‘futuristic’ perspective, but literally! Apparently, the Australian continent is drifting north by 7cm a year.
How is this relevant to the automotive industry? Driver-less cars and autonomous vehicles are around the corner and accuracy is absolutely crucial!
Just consider what a difference a metre can make when driving in traffic.
As car manufacturers and IT companies are investing a fortune in perfecting their map services. Every centimetre is critical, because without accurate data about road and environment, there will be no autonomous cars.
While cameras, lasers and sensors deliver a continuous stream of environmental data, the vehicle is also reliant on a digital map, which detects the transport network in real time. The map will basically function like another sensor.
Daimler’s navigation expert states that “Card Systems will play an immensely important role in the car. They are the prerequisite for automated driving.” Daimler has even teamed up with rival Audi and BMW.
Currently GPS tools are still an accessory in a car. In a few years it might be an essential and fundamental part of the car. The car won’t work without it, as the maps are not only keeping the driver informed, but the vehicle itself.
New maps will capture the environment in three dimensions.
Maps will register not only the roads, but also signs, curbs and guardrails. Basically it will come down to a re-measurement of the world – accurate by centimetre.
Digital road maps already are more capable than you think. They are able to calculate distances, detect slopes, road surfaces and curves. For example the new Porsche Panamera’s assistance system InnoDrive looks three kilometres ahead and guides the vehicle autonomously on the route.
The new E-Class from Mercedes-Benz uses the navigation data not only for route guiding , but also for efficient operation of the vehicle. Daimler expert Steffen Tacke states: “With a forward-thinking solution a hybrid drive, for example, can be more efficiently used, as the internal combustion engine and electric motor can be perfectly tuned to each other.”
Maps also support cruise control and prepare the vehicle for speed limits. “Sensors and cameras can not see around corners. Maps know the whole route.”
Instead of relying on third party providers like Apple or Google maps, car manufacturers want to own the data. Their services have the ability to offer additional features like: Where is the nearest free parking? How much is the fuel at the next gas station? How do I avoid the traffic jam? If the fuel runs, the navigation system automatically proposes the fastest route to the nearest petrol station.
To stay independent from Google and Apple, car makers Audi, BMW, Daimler and Renault have bought a map service Here for 2.8 billion Euros from Nokia. Here has developed ‘HD Live Map’.
CHECK IT OUT HERE – it’s mind boggling!
‘HD Live Map’ is the first digital map that updates itself automatically and creates a three-dimensional image of the environment. Almost in real time, it is transmitted to connected vehicles and enables ultra-precise navigation.
This map is for machines only. It is not readable by the human eye,” says Alex Mangan, Product Manager at Here. “It bundles more information than a driver could ever process.”
According to the company, the map system receives its information from over 80,000 different sources from around the world . The data is collated from road and land registry offices, aerial and satellite imagery, sensors on the car as well as the acquisition of the company vehicles.
The “HD Live map” is based on a cloud system and consists of three different data layers, which are provided in the form of a grid. Each tile of the grid covers an area of approximately two square kilometres. It requires minimal space in the buffer memory and can be updated individually. The few kilobytes large data packets travel back in fractions of a second from the cloud to the vehicle and again.
I wonder what happens if the vehicle is without WiFi?
Sources: welt.de, Fabian Hoberg, here.com, Porsche.de, daimler.de