Volkswagen plans to create navigation cloud – with Mobileye’s help
The planned navigation standard aims at autonomous vehicles, but of course also normal drivers will benefit from the system that is scheduled to be available already in 2018. Future Volkswagen models will be able to use Mobileye’s camera-based map and localization technology Road Experience Management (REM). While there has not yet an official decision be taken, it can be expected that other brands of the Volkswagen group (Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Porsche, Seat and Skoda) will be able to have access to these data, a spokesperson said. “After all, we plan to establish the system as an industry standard”, he explained.
The planned system will be using crowdsourcing to generate real-time data for precise localization and acquisition of high-definition track data. These data will be aggregated and added to the highly precise virtual road map provided by map services company Here that is jointly owned by Volkswagen group member Audi, BMW and Daimler.
In practice, the cars, which are equipped with front cameras, acquire lane markings and road information via optical sensor systems from Mobileye, and this information flows in compressed format into a cloud. This fleet data is used for continuous improvement of high-definition navigation maps with highly precise localization capability. These, in turn, serve as a foundation for autonomous driving and advanced development of many assistance systems.
“The future of autonomous driving depends on the ability to create and maintain precise high-definition maps and scale them at minimal cost”, said Amnon Shashua, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Mobileye. “The Volkswagen agreement is a turning point. It not only utilizes crowd-sourcing technology to automatically generate high-definition maps and scale them cost-effectively. A much more important aspect is that the agreement provides a framework for industry-wide cooperation between automobile manufacturers to jointly produce the map contents that are needed for autonomous driving,” Shashua said.
Before the gathered data will be uploaded to the cloud, they will be compressed to relatively small packets in the magnitude of a few hundreds of kilobytes, the spokesperson said. Current series versions of several up-market Volkswagen models are already equipped with an Online Connectivity Unit that can serve for this purpose. In a couple of years, the planned mandatory eCall system will assume the task of connecting the vehicles not only to the next available emergency station but also to navigation cloud.