Data standard for autonomous navigation wanted

Data standard for autonomous navigation wanted

Interviews |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

In the NDS (Navigation Data Standards) association, automotive OEMs including BMW, Daimler, Hyundai, Volvo and Nissan have gathered with suppliers to do away with the hodgepodge of proprietary navigation data standards. The long list of suppliers includes map services provider Here as well as navigation system vendor TomTom, software company Elektrobit and infotainment system vendors Harman and Clarion. Also, Chinese companies such as Baidu and Neusoft are with the party.


Standardizing navigation and map data formats has returned to become a relevant matter for the automotive ecosystem, because autonomous cars need very exact map data, explains Volker Sasse, chairman of the NDS association. Such a generally accepted data standard would greatly facilitate the roll-out of traffic and routing related data services for autonomous vehicles. “For new technology developments, proprietary data formats may offer be more efficient”, Sasse said. “But as soon as a certain market acceptance has been reached, it becomes an advantage to rely on a broadly accepted standard”.


“Currently there are many traffic information services under development which are frequently utilizing data from vehicle-based sensors”, Sasse said. “It makes a lot of sense to standardize these data that are typically exchanged and processed in the cloud.” The vehicle-to-x mechanism is not yet part of the game, Sasse explained, but talks between stakeholders are underway. In Japan, a service called DMP (Dynamic Map Planning) is currently under development that will support autonomous driving; the service is scheduled to be available during the Olympic Games in 2020.



NDS’ The latest offering is Open Lane Model, a subsystem of the full NDS format. “We released it now to offload developers from reinventing the wheel for their respective projects”, Sasse said. The full specs however cannot be released since it is property of the NDS members.

Smartphone apps are less exact and inferior to embedded navigation systems, because the latter have access to more sensors and thus can make more reliable and more exact driving decisions. “We see that there is some competition between smartphone and embedded navigation”, Sasse said, but for autonomous driving the sensor data from the vehicle itself are indispensable.” For example, GPS data are exact to a deviation of 5 to 10 meters. If the GPS data are enhanced by vehicle data, an accuracy of 10 cm can be achieved, Sasse explained.


Currently the association is focused on European and Asian companies, but the group is in the process of establishing contacts to North American suppliers and system vendors as well. “We are in talks with the Silicon Valley”, Sasse claimed.


In the interview with eeNews Europe, Sasse shared some insights to the American market. EV vendor Tesla, for instance is already using the standardized in parts and indirectly through suppliers. However, Tesla is not a member of the group. “More than other OEMs, Tesla relies on their internal sensors for autonomous driving”, Sasse said.


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Related articles:

ABI predicts massive shift in automotive navigation platforms

Turning cars into mobile devices: MIPI

Toyota connects navigation systems to the cloud

Intel buys into map services provider Here


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