Updated: Nov 30, 2018
Earlier this year Daimler and HERE Technologies joined hands to make HERE HD Live Map as a part of Daimler’s autonomous driving technology.
“The map of the future is one that’s self-healing—constantly updating to mirror what is happening across the road network” said Ralf Herrtwich, SVP Automotive at HERE Technologies.
A self-healing live HD map can reflect dynamic changes in the road environment and update itself accordingly in near real-time. The self-healing ability enables vehicles (Autonomous Vehicles) to proactively adjust to changing road conditions, such as switching lanes and adjusting speed ahead of time in the case of an upcoming lane closure.
Vehicle sensor data are crucial for an HD map to self-heal because of its quality and the sheer volume of vehicles on the road that can detect and validate changes. HERE HD Live Map reportedly constantly publishes changes to the map through a content validation process, by which multiple vehicle sensors act as a “closed loop” to detect any deviations from the published data.
Industry giants like Google and Intel Mobileye have their own views of updating the maps. While Google has its own specialized vehicles driving around to have a HD map of the locality. But updating it regularly is a challenge. It requires very high quality connectivity and is not easily scalable on a global scale. Mobileye on the other hand believes low quality maps crowd sourced from various cars already running with only peculiar features of the area is the answer to scalability. But, will it be sufficient to accurately provide the information for driving autonomously?
HERE Technologies, owned by a consortium of Daimler, Audi and BMW, seems to have taken the middle path. It is a mapping company providing HD 3D maps for autonomous driving but, is already collaborating with the Mobileye to take its concept to regularly update using the data of vehicle sensors to augment and update the HD maps regularly. HERE is already getting rich vehicle sensor data from various automotive OEMs. The HD mapping which is an expensive and time consuming process can be done occasionally and vehicle sensor data from connected vehicles to push in the important updates on the map in almost real time fashion. This solves the issue of updates, but what about scalability at a global level?
This seems to be a step in the right direction for North America and Europe where vehicles with ADAS and advanced sensors are common. But, what about the rest of the world?
As an answer to this, OneMap Alliance was announced, where HERE is partnering with NavInfo of China, Increment/Pioneer of Japan and SK Telecom of Korea. This will allow scaling the near real time HD mapping for autonomous driving on a global scale in a much shorter time. The Alliance aims to pool resources to have global HD maps by 2020. If the alliance gets partnerships from other OEMs to provide vehicle sensor data, ADAS data, self-healing maps of the world may not be an infeasible proportion.
The future looks bright for autonomous driving adoption across different parts of the globe if this vision comes to reality.
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Image and video courtesy Here Technologies