UK Ready to Take Leading Role in Autonomous Vehicle Road Mapping

about 3 months ago by Luke James

A newly released report has claimed that the UK could take a leading role in autonomous mapping, with several UK-based firms heading up mapping projects and the creation of data and regulatory systems.

In a report published by Zenzic, formerly Meridian Mobility, the UK's overarching umbrella organisation for self-driving technologies, it was stated that "[this report] is another stake in the ground for the UK as a leader in the self-driving revolution and shows how the UK is building on its expertise in areas like mapping to drive the world forward".

 

What Does the Report Say?

The Geodata Report, created and published in partnership with the UK's Ordnance Survey, puts forward the case for establishing common global data and mapping standards across the autonomous vehicles sector.

Some of the recommendations in the report include:

  • Real-time updates on temporary obstacles such as roadworks;

  • 5+cm map resolution for easier navigation of complex environments; and

  • Data on curbs, lampposts, and pedestrian crossings, etc.

At present, there is no single source for mapping data that is of the quality required to meet the challenges that lay ahead for autonomous vehicles—currently, individual companies operating in the autonomous vehicles' space all develop their own technologies, mapping data, and follow their own rules. 

This, the report stressed, is why it is of vital importance that current and future resources are pooled and shared in a neutrally hosted platform governed by common standards and that together, today's leading firms in the autonomous vehicles sector work on establishing global standards.

 

A graphic image that depicts autonomous vehicles' sensing distance. Image courtesy of Bigstock.

 

Mapping Britain's Roads

Despite the present lack of shared resources and regulation surrounding the autonomous vehicles' industry, work on mapping Britain's roads and roadside infrastructure has already begun. 

In January at CES 2019, it was announced that Ordinance Survey (OS), the national mapping organisation for Great Britain, had teamed up with Mobileye to launch trials with the goal of creating a detailed dataset for roadside infrastructure in England, Scotland, and Wales. This partnership is representative of similar collaborative projects focused on improving England’s roads, such as incorporating graphene to maintain and renew highly-trafficked streets

Mobileye 8 Connect Mapping Technology

Soon, fleets of vans and cars will take to Britain's roads kitted out with Mobileye's automotive mapping technology. Using Mobileye 8 Connect, these vehicles will capture a street-level view of the nation's road network and roadside infrastructure. Detecting, collecting, and processing data before sending it to the cloud where it will be intercepted by OS, these cameras will not only map out roads but also provide vital information such as road markings, road signs, traffic lights, drains, and manhole covers, among other things.

This data will be constantly updated as more and more vehicles capture more and more information across Britain's road network. 

President and CEO of Mobileye, Professor Amnon Shashua said: “A future of smart cities and safe streets is within reach when we equip governments and businesses with high precision mapping data. We look forward to seeing the continuing progress of our trials”.

 

Following the adoption of global standards and companies operating in the autonomous vehicles industry contributing to the data pool, self-driving cars produced by manufacturers worldwide are expected to operate and co-exist on the same roads before long. 

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