Bosch and TomTom in map partnership
- July 29, 2015
Dutch map and traffic provider TomTom and Bosch, the world’s largest automotive supplier, have agreed to collaborate in the area of maps for highly-automated driving.
Under the agreement, TomTom is designing the necessary maps, while Bosch, on the basis of its systems engineering work, is defining the specifications these maps have to meet, the two companies say. The maps are already being used in the automated vehicles Bosch is testing on certain public roads in Germany and in the United States.
Commenting on the importance of this venture, the Bosch board of management member Dr. Dirk Hoheisel said, “Only with high-precision maps will automated driving on freeways be possible from 2020.”
Jan Maarten de Vries, vice president, automotive at TomTom, added, “By the end of 2015, we want to have new high-precision maps for automated driving for all freeways and freeway-like roads in Germany.” Road coverage will subsequently be extended to the rest of Europe and North America.
Maps for highly automated driving and the maps used in current navigation systems differ primarily in two respects. First, accuracy is significantly higher -- down to decimeter precision. Second, the map material for highly-automated driving consists of multiple layers. The traditional base navigation layer is used to calculate routes from A to B, including the sequence of roads to be driven. The localization layer uses a novel positioning concept providing highly accurate map data, which the automated vehicle uses to accurately calculate its position within a lane. To do this, the vehicle compares its sensed environment with the corresponding information in the localization layer.
In highly-automated driving, safety and comfort depend crucially on map material that is up to date, Bosch says. For example, up-to-the-minute speed-limit information has to be available instantly. Only then can vehicles select the best proactive driving strategy. In this regard, Bosch and TomTom rely on several elements and services to keep the map data up to date: the TomTom mapping fleet will continue to be regularly on the road, accurately mapping new roads and routes. To register recent changes on the roads, such as changed lane configurations or new traffic signs, TomTom and Bosch plan to use feedback from fleets of vehicles equipped with the necessary sensors. Information about changed road conditions captured this way will be transferred to a server, verified and entered in the digital map database. The updated map will then be fed back to the highly automated driving vehicle, enabling it to see effectively beyond its sensors.