BMW, HERE And Mobileye Team Up To Crowd-Source HD Maps For Self-Driving – Forbes
When cars start driving themselves in the coming years, they will rely on sensors in order to “see” what’s around them, but they will require accurate and precise maps of the world in order to determine where they need to go. As automakers, suppliers and technology upstarts scramble to develop the automated driving systems, the companies that build maps are scrambling to figure out how to keep them up to date. HERE announced today that starting in 2018, BMW vehicles equipped with Mobileye vision sensing will be contributing to the construction of its high-definition maps for automated vehicles.
This is the second announcement in the past week of a partnership between Mobileye and an automaker to deploy its Road Experience Management (REM) system in production vehicles. Last week, Mobileye announced a similar deal with Volkswagen.
REM is a system developed by Mobileye that scans the images taken by its vision sensors for a variety of road-side features including stationary objects like overpasses as well as changes in the road configuration. Mobileye compares the real-time data to the in-vehicle database and transmits any differences to its REM servers. Doing the comparisons in the vehicle and only sending what has changed keeps data bandwidth use to a minimum and Mobileye has developed a very efficient format that only uses 10-kilobytes per kilometer of road traveled.
Once the data from all contributing vehicles is aggregated and verified on Mobileye’s servers, it is shared back out to its mapping partners, in this case HERE. HERE combines the REM data with its own map information and shares it back to the connected vehicles using its maps. When a construction zone pops up, automated vehicles using HERE HD maps can adjust their routes dynamically.
Information about fixed objects can also be used to triangulate the vehicle’s position in space when GPS signals are problematic, something that happens frequently in dense urban canyons. That localization information can also be used help determine where the car is on the road when it’s not visible such as when it is covered with snow.
New BMW and VW vehicles launching in 2018 will be the first equipped with the updated Mobileye EyeQ4 chips and software that are capable of collecting REM data. BMW currently plans to launch its first highly automated vehicles with SAE Level 4 capability around 2021.
In early 2016, HERE was purchased from Nokia by a consortium consisting for BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen Group. In January 2017, Intel announced that it was acquiring a 15% stake in the HERE consortium and the automakers have indicated that they are open to allowing other companies to invest as well.
In mid-2016, BMW also announced that it was collaborating with Intel and Mobileye on development of its automated vehicles. Intel and Mobileye also have a separate partnership with supplier Delphi for that company’s automated driving package that it is developing to offer to automakers.