Bosch and Dutch map and traffic information provider TomTom have achieved a breakthrough in high-resolution maps for automated driving.
They’ve developed the world’s first localisation layer using radar signals, which will be indispensable for maps like these.
Until now, video data have been used for this purpose. Bosch’s “radar road signature” is instead made up of billions of individual reflection points.
These are formed everywhere that radar signals hit – for example, on crash barriers or road signs – and reproduce the course a road takes.
Automated vehicles can use the map to determine their exact location in a lane down to a few centimetres.
“The radar road signature is a milestone on the path towards automated driving,” says Dr Dirk Hoheisel, a member of the Bosch board of management. “It will enable automated vehicles to reliably determine their location at all times.”
The advantage of the radar road signature is its robustness. Unlike maps that rely exclusively on video data for vehicle localisation, the radar road signature also works reliably at night and in conditions of poor visibility.
And it only transmits five kilobytes of data to a cloud per kilometre – half the data volume generated by video maps.
It is expected that the first vehicles will provide data for the radar road signature in Europe and the US by 2020 at the latest.