Data standard for autonomous navigation wanted

February 01, 2017 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Data standard for autonomous navigation wanted
Several carmakers and suppliers have joined forces to standardize the data formats used in vehicle navigation. After a failed attempt to establish an ISO standard several years ago, the development towards autonomous driving brings the matter to the table again.

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.

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