Toyota is developing a high-precision map generation system that will use data from on-board cameras and GPS devices installed in production vehicles. The new system will go on display at CES 2016 in Las Vegas early January.
The system uses camera-equipped production vehicles to gather road images and vehicle positional information. This information is sent to data centers, where it is automatically pieced together, corrected and updated to generate high precision road maps that cover a wide area.
While a system relying on cameras and GPS in this manner has a higher probability of error than a system using three-dimensional laser scanners, positional errors can be mitigated using image matching technologies that integrate and correct road image data collected from multiple vehicles, as well as high precision trajectory estimation technologies.
“This restricts the system’s margin error to a maximum of 5 cm on straight roads“ Toyota wrote.
By utilizing production vehicles and existing infrastructure to collect information, this data can be updated in real time and the system can be scaled up at a relatively low cost.
To support the spread of automated driving technologies, Toyota plans to include this system as a core element in automated driving vehicles that will be made available in production vehicles by around 2020.
“While initial use of the system is expected to be limited to expressways, future development goals include expanding functionality to cover ordinary roads and assist in hazard avoidance,“ Toyota indicated.
It is interesting to see Toyota entering the automotive map space. Most recently that was Continental (read here) which demonstrated their interest for this market segment and our discussion with Continental at the ITS World congress in Bordeaux clearly showed they are not afraid to compete with TomTom and HERE.
At this stage it is not clear however if and how Toyota want to partner with map makers.
The Japanese carmaker wrote that “Toyota will also seek to collaborate with mapmakers, with the goal of encouraging the use of high precision map data in services offered by both the public and private sectors.“
We will probably learn more on the CES show floor.