3D Road Maps for Self Driving Cars on the Horizon

<p>Vehicles with limited autonomy are already hitting the streets with more due to arrive in the near future. However, the dream of a fully automated driving experience is still a long ways off with the limits of current technology. Tech and auto giants are teaming up to solve this problem faster by developing HD maps for auto-driving programs to follow. </p>

<p>"The notion of a HD map was created during a joint project with Here and Daimler for the 'Birth of Benz' drive, and we developed a core technology and HD map that was created as a research prototype in order to facilitate the functioning of that car driving through the German countryside," said Sanjay Wood, Here's VP of Highly Automated Driving. "When it comes to automated driving, the map becomes another sensor that helps the automated vehicle make decisions." Cars driving the roads, bristling with sensors, create these maps. Roof-mounted sensor stacks carry dozens of cameras, LIDAR scanners and highly accurate Novatel GPS Inertial Measurement Units. As the cars are driven, they collect the data and send it back to Here for the maps to be built. "Starting last year, we're essentially building the road network in order to have this map available for the first fleets of cars that are going to be leveraging this technology that are going to be showing up on the roads around 2020," said Sood. "So we have to seed that ecosystem with a map."</p>

<p>As roads and routes continually change, the computer-generated maps need to be updated in real-time. To solve this issue, here has hundreds of mapping vehicles deployed around the globe. They have also established strong relationships with local governments and are alerted to upcoming construction projects ahead of time. Eventually, all production vehicles with this self-driving capability will be able to share new mapping information with the entire network, thus growing the map database and keeping all other cars up-to-date on road changes.</p>

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