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We spoke with Franziska Heine, a product manager in Automotive Services for HERE who worked on the development of the service.
HERE Hazard Warnings is one of three new services offered by HERE and powered by the data provided by multiple automakers. It provides up-to-date, relevant information on potential hazards and accidents, and Franziska sheds a light on its features and how it differentiates from other services on the market.
She says, “The most important thing to understand about the service, is that it allows the driver to learn of hazards and dangerous situations way before their car sensors would pick them up, with a previously unknown level of confidence in their accuracy.”
“We give the driver a critical timeframe which will allow them to make the right decision. If there’s a slippery road ahead, and the driver is going pretty fast, they will get the relevant information provided to them early, so that they can decide to slow down, change lanes, or maybe even alter the route completely.”
HERE offers this by collecting sensor events from the various automakers who have shared access to their sensor data. Franziska adds, “This is a very unique situation, because there are no other companies out there who have access to this amount of sensor data from competing auto makers to power a near real-time service.”
The cars use rich vehicle sensors to observe incidents, which are then sent to the HERE cloud, validated and distributed to other cars at a higher accuracy and lower latency than ever before.
Participating automakers decide which data to share in order to enrich the Hazard Warnings service by extending the coverage and increasing the volume of data used.
Franziska tells us more about the plans for HERE Hazard Warnings:
“For the first release, we will focus purely on vehicle-sourced data, so data coming in from vehicles, and in the second half of next year we will expand this to third party data, implementing editorial safety incidents and weather warnings to broaden our content.”
If there is a heavy rain event that multiple cars are reporting, drivers will not receive multiple alerts, but one, consolidated message that HERE will collate from the alerts. This will be supported with additional meta data to boost the quality of the data, so that the information on heavy rain or fog can be provided and relied upon with confidence.
Franziska also describes accident events, which are usually reported because a car itself has crashed, or broken down. She adds:
“We would really like these events to be sent out to following cars immediately, in seconds. Serious accidents are something that other cars need to know about in order to void any further risk.”
While HERE Hazard Warnings is an important feature for the human driver, Franziska also explains how it can aid the autonomous vehicle. She says:
“Hazard Warnings will make a big contribution to the decisions an autonomous vehicle makes. While the car has its sensors, the events we will send them are beyond these sensors’ range. Our events will influence and aid the decisions these make. This means that the product has to be fast, reliable and accurate.”
The data from the multiple automakers is vitally important in ensuring this bright future, according to Franziska. Going forward, HERE wants to receive data from more cars to ensure that the meta data available is strong enough to empower autonomous vehicles.
Working with more automakers is a definite aim for the HERE team in driving these services forward. Franziska concludes:
“The whole service relies upon sensor data, and the more data we have, the better the data will become and the broader the coverage. This will also help us to achieve our goal – to evolve this product into something that can support the autonomous car.”