HERE, TomTom In the Race to High Definition Maps

Digital map makers TomTom and HERE are intensifying their marketing push about high definition maps for the automotive industry.

This week HERE announced to have delivered samples of this map data to their automotive partners for their tests in their respective countries.

In the United States HERE is mapping parts of San Francisco Bay Area roads including US-101, CA-92, I-280 and CA-85.

HERE has been also partnering with the University of Michigan’s Mobility Transformation Center, a facility devoted to testing connected and automated cars. HERE is mapping the university’s Mcity, a full-scale 32-acre cityscape made for testing connected and automated vehicles.

HERE is furthermore mapping test routes in and around public roads in Detroit, Michigan, (parts of the I-94, I-96, I-696 and US-23), at nearly 400 kilometers (249 miles), it is one of the largest of all the test routes HERE is mapping.

In Germany HERE has mapped theA9 highway from Munich to the Holledau intersection in both directions (a 49 km stretch).

In Japan HERE plans to map in HD part of the Tomei Expressway near Tokyo in both directions later this year.

Finally, in France HERE has mapped part of the Francilienne (N104) between the A6 and A10 motorways, South of Paris (19 km long).

TomTom & Bosch

This week TomTom announced to have extended their partnership (read & watch here) with German automotive supplier Bosch. The two companies will collaborate in the area of maps for highly automated driving.

Under this 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. At this moment, the maps are already being used in the automated vehicles Bosch is testing on certain public roads in Germany (A81) and in the United States (I280).

Commenting on this partnership, the Bosch board of management member Dr. Dirk Hoheisel said: “Only with high precision maps will automated driving on freeways be possible from 2020.â€?

What coverage, when?

When it comes to the wide availability of these maps, Jan Maarten de Vries, Vice President Automotive at TomTom, stated: “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.â€? his CEO Harold Goodijn said yesterday in a call with financial analysts: Harold Goddjin: : We are covering the highest road classes in Europe and North America, we expect this to be available end of 2016.“

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HERE Adds Reversible Lanes to Real-Time Traffic Service

Reversible express lanes are used to ease congestion during rush-hour in large cities. These lanes sit in the center of large highways and create extra lanes to drivers in one direction or the other. However until recently none of the real-time traffic vendors were monitoring the change of directions.

This has changed now with HERE Traffic giving information on which way they’re pointing in real-time.

The update is available immediately across all HERE offerings. People using HERE for Android, HERE for iOS, Amazon Fire Phone, Windows Phone, Bing Maps or driving a car powered by HERE Traffic will automatically see this new features.

Developers building their own map app can use the HERE API to include this feature too. Drivers in 12 cities can make more intelligent routing choices and ultimately reach their destinations more quickly. They will also be able to see the direction that is currently open on the map display and manually plan their route.

The list of the 12 cities:

– Chicago: Kennedy Express Lanes

– Denver: I-25 HOV Lanes

– Fort Lauderdale: I-595 Expressway

– Hamburg, Germany: I4700

– Houston: US-59/Southwest Freeway HOV Lanes, US-290/Northwest Freeway HOV Lanes, I-45/Gulf Freeway HOV Lanes, I-45/North Freeway HOV Lanes, US-59/Eastex Freeway HOV Lanes

– Minneapolis: I-394 Express Lanes

– New Orleans: US-90-BR HOV Lanes

– New York: Queensboro Bridge-Upper Level, Lincoln Tunnel Reversible Lanes

– Pittsburgh: I-279 HOV Lanes, I-579 HOV Lanes

– Seattle: I-90-Express Lanes, I-5 Express Lanes

– Tampa: SR-618-TOLL/Selmon Expressway

– Washington, D.C.: I-395 HOV Lanes, I-95 HOV Lanes, I-64 HOV Lanes, Canal Rd, Reservoir Rd, Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway NW

what3words Hires LBS Veteran Gary Gale

British startup what3words, which offers a global user-friendly addressing system, has announced the hiring of Gary Gale as their new Chief Technology Officer.

Gale has worked in the mapping and location space for more than 20 years. Before joining what3words from the Ordnance Survey, he was the geo-technologist at Lokku (where he devised and launched the OpenCage Data geocoding service), and Director of Places and Director of Global Community Programs for HERE.

Before joining HERE, Gary led the Geo-technologies group for Yahoo!.

what3words is a global address system based on a grid of 3mx3m squares. It uses an algorithmic engine to give each of the 57 trillion squares a pre-assigned and fixed address of three dictionary words.

Last month what3words won the prestigious “Innovation Grand Prixâ€? at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in France (read here).

Fiat 500 Gets Connected: Navigation & Apps

Fiat Chrysler Automobile unveiled the new version of their Fiat 500 that offers Uconnect LIVE services, a range of connected apps and services (via a tethered phone connection) which are included in the price of the car.

The Uconnect LIVE app can be downloaded from Apple Store or Google Play Store on a smartphone. As soon as the smartphone is connected to the New 500 Lounge, many applications can be viewed and controlled on the touchscreen of the Uconnect system. The apps have been redesigned and adapted for use while driving.

Uconnect LIVE will be gradually available in a number of countries across Europe; immediately available in Italy, France, Germany, the UK, Spain, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg on Uconnect 5" Radio and Radio Nav for Android and iOS smartphones.

Uconnect LIVE allows direct access on the touchscreen to TuneIn Internet radio, with over 100,000 stations worldwide, Deezer Internet music, with over 35 million tracks for ‘Deezer Premium’ users, Reuters, for the most recent world news, and Facebook and Twitter.

The system can also be used to access eco:Drive, a driving style app which allows to slash fuel consumption by up to 16% and contributes to reducing CO2 emissions by providing driving tips in real time.

Another app is my:Car that offers real time warnings, service deadline memos and an interactive owner handbook to help drivers manage the car maintenance as best as possible. When a smartphone is connected via Bluetooth, the most important warnings are transferred to the Uconnect LIVE personal account to simplify servicing.

TomTom connected navigation

TomTom is also providing their connected navigation solution to the Fiat 500. While TomTom has been providing GPS navigation to Fiat for many years, this is the first time the Italian car maker is including the connected services of the Dutch company.

TomTom LIVE Services:

– TomTom Traffic for: up-to-date traffic information, Traffic gets drivers to their destinations faster.

– Speed Cameras: Mobile and fixed speed camera alerts on the go.

– Local search with TomTom Places.

– TomTom Weather: Drivers will receive local and five-day forecasts.

The TomTom connected services are also available on Fiat 500x and will be available on further selected models and countries across Europe.

HERE Issues Open Source Specs to Share Road Data From Car Sensors

HERE published yesterday an interface specification that defines how sensor data gathered by vehicles on the road can be sent to the cloud to update maps on the fly. The specification has been published under a Creative Commons license.

With a growing number of sensors in car and the connectivity there is a lot that can be done to share road information between cars, however, “there is a need for standardisation in terms of how the cloud ingests this sensor data for this system to work,“ HERE said.

The standard describes items such as, for example: lane recognition, road sign recognition, slope, road curvature, temperature, precipitation, object detection, and much more.

The proposed standard, because it carries a lot of information about the location of the car and its condition, takes care of privacy issues. “In the interface specification we are defining that vehicles don’t send individual vehicle IDs so they aren’t traceable. This means that if the vehicle is sending some data today and then the next day, we will not know that it is the same vehicle. We would be aggregating across many submissions but not across a single individual,“ explained Dietmar Rabel, product management director automated driving at HERE.

See below the specification:

TomTom Telematics Launches Consumer OBD Device & App

TomTom Telematics launched today in the UK and Germany TomTom CURFER, a new smartphone app that gives drivers real-time feedback on their driving style through a Bluetooth connection to an OBD dongle (LINK 100).

The app provides drivers with visual information on how they drive — including live and retrospective feedback on their braking, cornering, acceleration and idling.

In addition to gaining real-time feedback, drivers can share information on their individual driving style with friends over social media networks, monitor long-term trends and earn digital badges and similar recognitions.

TomTom CURFER is available for €99 (£79) or €115 with an extension cable.

PSA Cars to have Android Auto in 2016

At a journalist event this week in France, PSA announced that they will have Android Auto available in their vehicles in 2016.

PSA had been an early adopter of MirroLink to connect Android phones to the car, and seemed reluctant to sign up with Google.

But it looks like the appeal of Google’s Android Auto has been too big for the French car maker and has overcome all risks linked to Google taking over the control of the dashboard. Future will tell if that was a good decision.

As previously reported Apple CarPlay will start to be available this year in PSA cars.

Daimler & Bosch Work on Fully Automated Valet Parking

Daimler, its car sharing subsidiary car2go and Bosch have initiated together a pilot project where cars can park by themselves on a parking garage and return autonomously to a pick up location.

This pilot brings together an intelligent infrastructure in the car park and a vehicle control unit from Bosch in conjunction with the newest generation of Mercedes-Benz on-board sensors and the car-sharing expertise of car2go.

The scenario starts with a car2go user booking a vehicle on his smartphone. As soon as the driver is ready in the pick-up-zone of the car park, the car drives up independently and the ride can begin.

Returning the car is as simple. The customer parks it in the drop-zone of the car park and returns the car via their smartphone, then the system of the car park registers the vehicle, starts it and directs it to an assigned parking space.

“Fully automated parking will be ready for mass-production before fully automated drivingâ€?, says Dr. Dirk Hoheisel, the responsible Board Member of Bosch. “Low driving speeds and the information from the car park infrastructure enable a fast implementation.â€?

INRIX to offer On-Street Parking Data, BMW First Customer

Traffic information service provider Inrix is launching today an on-street parking information service, moving one step forward in providing value added services to drivers and car makers.

Initially available in six cities ((Seattle, Vancouver BC, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Cologne, and Copenhagen) Inrix plans to expand the service to 23 cities by the end of 2015 (Seattle, Vancouver BC, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Cologne, Copenhagen, Munich, Berlin, Dusseldorf, London, Paris, Brussels, Hanover, Vienna, Stuttgart, LA, Toronto, Boston, Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Chicago, and Washington D.C.)

The first customer for the service will be German car maker BMW. Inrix also plans to integrate the parking services into its mobile app later this year once it has a more significant number of cities available in the service. Furthermore Inrix is also willing to sell this data to cities that lack an overall perception of their parking availability, a crucial information when it comes to things such as city planning or pricing of on-street parking.

How does it work?

The service is answering the “where“, and the “how much“ questions for drivers looking for a free parking spot. Inrix provides probability to find a free space – updated hourly – on a street by street level. This information is supplemented with details on pricing, parking/permit restrictions, and policy rules (free versus paid times/days).

If nothing is available near a destination, Inrix can revert the driver to a safer plan B with information for more than 80,000 off-street parking locations in Europe and North America.

When it comes to the exact time that could be saved by drivers using the on-street data, Inrix is not yet willing to put numbers out in the market.

“It’s hard to put an exact figure to this but we do expect this technology to have a positive impact and we are confident it will save drivers time looking for parking due to the accuracy of the data and simply because drivers have never had this insight before,“ answered Matt Simmons, marketing director at Inrix.

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Airbiquity’s Choreo Cloud Platform Now in 6M Cars

Telematics service provider Airbiquity has announced its connected car cloud platform is now embedded in 6 million vehicles.

Choreo is currently part of 12 connected car program deployments from eight automotive brands, spanning 49 vehicle models.

Airbiquity also disclosed that Choreo has processed over three billion connected car transactions to date, and monthly transaction volumes have surpassed 250 million per month achieving a four-year 448 percent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR).