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ABI Research: vehicle sensor crowdsourcing to transform the digital map ecosystem; need for standards

Highly accurate, real-time maps are an essential next step as the automotive industry steers toward the future of fully driverless cars. All autonomous and driverless vehicle maps will need to combine accuracy, environmental models, and real-time attributes allowing positional and temporal awareness. To achieve that, says Dominique Bonte, Managing Director and Vice President at ABI Research, “crowdsourcing is crucial.

As connected vehicles include more low-cost, high-resolution sensors, cars will capture and upload this data to a central, cloud-based repository so that automotive companies, such as HERE, can crowdsource the information to build highly accurate, real-time precision maps. This is fueled by the rapid adoption of a wide range of active safety systems with more than 94 million longitudinal assistance ADAS systems expected to ship in 2026.

—Dominique Bonte

The new 3D, dynamic maps will provide a complementary data set to ADAS sensors for an overall smoother driving experience. Whereas sensors provide real-time visibility on a vehicle’s immediate vicinity for last-minute obstacle detection and collision avoidance, maps extend this visibility to allow vehicles to anticipate those situations long before the sensors would even have to detect them.

The battle for controlling crowdsourced driverless HD map technology is heating up, according to ABI. Daimler, jointly owning HERE with BMW and Audi, confirmed talks with Amazon and Microsoft to join the consortium.

Mobileye signed agreements with GM, VW, and Nissan to use its Road Experience Management (REM) mapping platform. And at the GPU Technology Conference (GTC), NVIDIA announced its new HD mapping approach based on its DRIVE PX machine vision hardware platform. Car OEM Toyota also announced its own mapping platform, working with mapping supplier Zenrin in Japan.

ABI Research argues that the biggest challenge for the new mapping paradigm is the lack of standards coupled with high levels of fragmentation in the automotive industry. Despite HERE’s efforts to assemble the industry around its Sensor Integration Standard for real-time map attributes, many players, like ADAS vendor Mobileye, are vying to play a role in map data crowdsourcing and proposing and/or imposing their own proprietary approaches.

The industry needs to set standards, if only for the fact that standards readily allow vehicles to exchange real-time map attributes between each other. In the early stages, new players introducing their own solutions might actually fuel innovation and accelerate adoption of crowdsourced map technology. But in the long term, economies of scale and a maturing market environment will require the adoption of standards and open platform approaches.

—Dominique Bonte

These findings are part of ABI Research’s Automotive Safety and Autonomous Driving Service, which includes research reports, market data, insights, and competitive assessments.


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