Autonomous vehicles need answers, and HERE can provide them

Sanjay Sood, Head of Highly Automated Driving at HERE
Chicago 41° 53' 2.9759999999997" N, -87° 37' 56.748" E
This article was originally published on LinkedIn.

To make autonomous cars a reality, we need to provide them with the best information possible. The HERE HD Live Map provides this information so that passengers stay safe and comfortable.

In virtually any conversation about the automotive industry, you can be sure that questions will arise about autonomous cars. How will they disrupt the industry? Where will they enter the market first? What are governments doing to prepare?

All of these are excellent questions. But before we get into discussions about regulation and deployment, we first need to develop the technology and capabilities required to make autonomous cars a safe and comfortable reality for passengers as well as the people, vehicles and objects around them.

To move forward, we need to approach the conversation from a different angle: What are the questions an autonomous vehicle needs answered to navigate through the real world in a way that is safe and comfortable for everyone involved?

An autonomous vehicle needs more than sensor data to know exactly where it is on the road. A self-driving vehicle needs multiple information sources to see and understand its surroundings, know where it is going, and make safe, efficient, and legal driving decisions while getting there.

In other words, it needs an advanced map. As the industry shifts from today’s relatively low levels of automation to greater autonomous functionality, the map provides an extended field of vision that is an indispensable element of vehicle path and strategy planning.

Another way to understand the role of the map is as the collective memory experiences of other cars on the road. Modern cars are packed with sensor that can scan and analyze the physical world, classifying everything they see in real-time. A centralized high-definition map pieces together snippets of information transmitted by each car, building a real-time picture of the road network from each car’s experience and redistributing that wealth of knowledge back out to cars that need it.

A vehicle's environment with HD Live Map on board[2] copy

Consider all the questions for which automated vehicles need answers if they are to operate safely and efficiently.

Where am I? – Autonomous vehicles need to know exactly where they are on the road with centimeter accuracy. GPS isn’t accurate or reliable enough and we can provide the environmental data for the vehicle such as road and lane information and road-side objects like signs and barriers to ensure the vehicle knows exactly where it is at all times.

How do I get there? - Autonomous vehicles need to know how to get from point A to point B safely and efficiently. The solution is to provide route planning that accounts for the realities that exist beyond sensor visibility. Our services for autonomous cars carry road condition data that enables the vehicle to make maneuvering decisions.

What’s around me? - Autonomous vehicles need to process the dynamic environment to enable safe decisions. That’s true of both the immediate environment that the car itself can detect, as well as the environment beyond sensor range. Our systems then ensure that the map and sensors working cohesively to provide the vehicle with a comprehensive understanding of what’s near and what’s far.

How should I behave? - Autonomous vehicles need to know how to abide by the law. HERE Technologies provides vehicles with the rules of the road so they know where they can and cannot go. For example, knowing that the open lane on the left is only for high occupancy vehicles, or being aware that such a lane only operates during certain times of the day, allows the vehicle to make safe, legal decision.

Finally, can I trust the data? – Autonomous vehicles need to make confident, proactive decisions. Therefore, they need to know if the source data is reliable, accurate and relevant. autonomous vehicles also need to know if the map itself is reliable, accurate, and relevant as the world is a dynamic place with millions and millions of kilometers of road that are constantly changing. We provide a predictive score to our map features to ensure autonomous vehicles know if they can trust the map data for their autonomous system solutions providing more confident decision making and a better experience for consumers.

HERE HD Live Map brings together all of these important data inputs for automated vehicles. Our cloud-based high-definition mapping service comprises of various tiled mapping layers, which are modeled to centimeter precision and continuously updated to support connected ADAS and highly automated driving solutions.

HERE HD Live Map is the industry’s first self-healing map, leveraging crowdsourced data to provide autonomous vehicles with a precise digital map of its environment. Passengers will enjoy a safer and more comfortable experience as the vehicle makes better strategic maneuvering decisions -- building confidence in automated driving technology.

Thanks to a growing ecosystem of data providers, including numerous partners across multiple industries, HERE HD Live Map is scaling to support vehicles globally. These partnerships will facilitate a technology exchange that helps accelerate speed and automation in the HD map development.

Collaboration is essential to enable the data infrastructure required for automated cars. With the HD Live Map living on the HERE Open Location Platform that is accessible to everyone, we will play a critical role in facilitating this collaboration.

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Topics: Editor's Picks, Autonomous Cars, HD Live Map, HERE at CES 2019, CES 2019

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