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Japan 3D map JV beginning process of creating high-def 3-D maps for autonomous vehicles; dynamic mapping

The Nikkei reports that Tokyo-based Dynamic Map Planning (DMP), formed earlier this year by Mitsubishi Electric, mapmaker Zenrin and nine automakers, will begin creating high-definition 3-D maps for self-driving cars this month.

The project is supported by the Japanese government (SIP-adus, Strategic Innovation Promotion Program Innovation of Automated Driving for Universal Services) in support of an effort to have autonomous vehicles on the road by 2020 equipped with a dynamic mapping system that combines real-time, “dynamic” information with a high-definition 3D map base. The result, say the planners, is a “one stop” information source that can provide necessary information for automated driving.

Concept of the Dyanmic Map. Click to enlarge.

DMP will begin by constructing maps covering 300 km (186 miles) of the main expressways. The development of 3-D road maps is part of the Cabinet Office‘s Cross-ministerial Strategic Innovation Promotion Program (SIP) and commissioned to the Dynamic Map Planning joint venture.

3-D maps, based on survey data of road grades, structures, signage and other inputs, offer highly accurate data used by autonomous vehicles to determine positioning. Although sensors can help cars navigate within lanes and prevent crashes with vehicles in front, recognition errors still present a problem. Sensors also have difficulty with complex road patterns—highway off ramps, for example, because they cannot determine which is the right-turn lane among several road lanes.

Although current vehicle navigation systems can display 3-D maps, however, these maps lack precision and data. In cases where elevated highways are located above a car, the navigation system often shows an incorrect location of the vehicle. The combination of high-resolution 3-D maps and sensors will enable the accurate detection of lane position and the distance to intersections or junctions.

Mitsubishi Electric has developed high-precision surveying equipment (Mobile Mapping System, MMS) that will be installed on a canvassing vehicle. Sensors designed to detect the inclination of the car will measure the road grades.


Data including the locations of road signs and traffic lights, as well as right- and left-turns and pedestrian crossings, will be collected using lasers. The survey data will be displayed as a collection of dots. Lines on the road, such as lanes, noise barriers and road signage, will be plotted on that image to re-create road conditions for 3-D maps.

QZSS (Quasi-Zenith Satellite System, the “Japanese GPS” that complements GPS, can provide centimeter-level augmentation service (CLAS), for high-definition 3D positioning.


A third SIP-adus Workshop on Connected and Automated Driving Systems is scheduled for 15-17 November in Tokyo. Among the topics to be explored further at this workshop will be dynamic mapping.



They could become major players in the development of ADVs. The next decade will be interesting?

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