Meeting the challenge of up-to-the-minute maps
A few weeks ago we wrote about autonomous cars and some of the associated location data privacy issues that this new type of transport raised. In a related article in Automotive News, the challenge of collecting and maintaining the highly accurate map data that would be required to support these vehicles and provide the locational context for the various data sources collected by in-car sensors was also discussed. As the report author commented, ‘History’s most intrepid explorers were often at the mercy of their maps. The self-driving cars of the future won’t be any different.‘
Jim Keller (Chief Engineer, Honda R&D Americas Inc.) has acknowledged that mapping is going to be critical to the success of the autonomous car and he considers the relationship between map makers and car manufacturers as both vital and symbiotic. He argues that data collected by the cars will augment the data available from more traditional sources and data available from those more traditional sources will in turn help the car manufacturers.
While this suggests a new location data collecting dynamic – crowd-sourcing meets Street View, with cars altruistically recording and sharing the data they collect – it also highlights some of the challenges ahead. These cars have the potential to provide unprecedented volumes of detailed road network data but for that data to be useful, they have to be accurate, current and consistent with the standards adopted by other map data providers to ensure integration with existing data sets, reliability and ultimately safe driving for all road users.