Designed for the safe implementation of automated driving, Toyota is developing a map generation system that will gather information and data from on-board cameras and GPS devices installed in production vehicles. The gathered information will be then sent to data centres, where it is “automatically pieced together, corrected and updated to generate high precision road maps that cover a wide area”. This new system will go on display at the Consumer Electronics Show 2016 in Las Vegas.
For the successful implementation of automated driving technologies, an understanding of road layouts and traffic rules (including speed limits and various road signs) is essential. Till now, map data for automated driving purposes has been created using specially-built vehicles equipped with three-dimensional laser scanners. These vehicles will be driven through urban areas and on highways, thereby, collecting the required data and manual editing, to incorporate information such as dividing lines and road signs, this was expensive and a time consuming process.
Toyota admits that maps generated using the new system will have a higher possibility of error, but these errors can be reduced using image matching technologies that integrate and correct road image data collected from multiple vehicles multiple vehicles. This restricts the system’s margin error to a maximum of 5 cm on straight roads. By using production vehicles and existing infrastructure to collect information, this data can be updated in real time at relatively low cost.
Toyota plans to install this map generation system on production models around 2020, while the company will initially focus on expressways. But in the near future Toyota goals for mapping ordinary streets and roads, too.