Audi, BMW and Mercedes join forces to fight off US tech giants –

Posted: Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Indeed, autonomous driving is
almost upon us. Stadler says that a “piloted
driving” system
that will enable hands-off driving at speeds up
to about 40mph on motorways – in other words, in stop-start traffic –
will be offered in Audi’s next A8 limo, which goes on sale in 2017.

The mapping will need to get more accurate before then. “At the
moment we can pinpoint a car’s position on the road to within about
20cm, but we intend to significantly improve that,” HERE president
Sean Fernback said, without giving an exact figure.

It will be achieved with a high-definition service that Fernback
rather sinisterly calls the “dark map”. Essentially this is a richer,
3D map that will be better able to direct the autonomous car where the
customer wants it go, even when the satellite signal is lost. For
example, it’ll know when you need to be in the left lane at a city junction.

But why not just take this information from Google? After all,
premium manufacturers such as Audi are now offering Google StreetView
to aid navigation in their cars via web-streaming.

The answer, according to Fernback, is that Google isn’t very good at
sharing. “Google is doing its own thing, Apple is doing its own thing,
Uber is Uber. None of them want to be open,” he says. “They don’t want
to share or license their data.”


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