Bosch and TomTom have achieved a breakthrough in the development of high-resolution maps for automated driving. The companies are using radar signals to create a localization layer, which the companies say will be indispensable for maps like these.
Bosch’s “radar road signature” is made up of billions of individual reflection points. These are formed everywhere that radar signals hit and reproduce the course a road takes. Automated vehicles can use the map to determine their exact location in a lane down to a few centimeters.
“The radar road signature is a milestone on the path towards automated driving. It will enable automated vehicles to reliably determine their location at all times,” said Dr. Dirk Hoheisel, Bosch board of management member.
The advantage of Bosch’s radar road signature is its robustness, according to the company. The radar road signature works reliably at night and in conditions of poor visibility. Moreover, the Bosch radar road signature only transmits five kilobytes of data to a cloud per kilometer – this data volume is twice as high using a video map. It is expected that by 2020 at the latest, the first vehicles will provide data for the radar road signature in Europe and the U.S.
“We are delighted to be able to introduce supplemental localization data in the form of the radar road signature in partnership with Bosch. It will make self-localization for automated vehicles considerably more robust in every respect,” said TomTom CEO Harold Goddijn.
The two companies have been working intensively on the radar road signature and its integration into TomTom’s high-resolution overall map since the beginning of their collaboration in July 2015.
“We currently expect that we will need fleets for freeways in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific that each consist of around one million vehicles in order to keep our high-resolution map up to date,” said Hoheisel.
Communication boxes such as Bosch’s Connectivity Control Unit will transmit the radar sensors’ data from the vehicles to the manufacturers’ cloud and then on to the Bosch IoT Cloud. Bosch will use this to create the radar road signature, which is compatible with all conventional map formats. TomTom’s responsibilities will include integrating the radar road signature in the overall map and distributing it.