Published: July 21, 2015 | United States
Bosch and TomTom have agreed to 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). Road coverage will subsequently be extended to the rest of Europe and North America.
Several map layers, significantly increased accuracy
Maps for highly automated driving and the maps used in current navigation systems differ primarily in two respects. First, accuracy is significantly higher – down to decimeter precision. Second, the map material for highly automated driving consists of multiple layers. The traditional base navigation layer is used to calculate routes from A to B, including the sequence of roads to be driven. The localization layer uses a novel positioning concept providing highly accurate map data, which the automated vehicle uses to accurately calculate its position within a lane. To do this, the vehicle compares its sensed environment with the corresponding information in the localization layer. In this way, the vehicle can accurately define its position relative to the road and its surroundings. On top of the localization layer, the planning layer contains not only attributes such as lane divider types, traffic signs, speed limits, etc., but also 3D information about road geometry, including curves and slopes. With the help of this very detailed lane information, the automated vehicle can decide things such as when and how to change lane.
Extension of existing, successful partnership
For Bosch and TomTom, this collaboration in the area of maps for highly automated driving is an extension of an already existing, successful partnership. For Bosch’s connected horizon, TomTom also provides dynamic map information via their real-time service backend – albeit without any localization layer. In this way, the connected horizon makes it possible to predict the route ahead and adapt driving strategy accordingly. This solution was demonstrated for the first time in 2014, at the IAA Commercial Vehicles trade show in Hanover. The system recognizes potential black spots behind hills, or the start of a traffic jam, at an early stage, and automatically reduces the speed of the vehicle well in time. This considerably reduces the risk of rear-end collisions. In addition, smoother driving behavior means more comfort for the driver and improved fuel efficiency for the vehicle.