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TRI-AD demonstrates successful creation of HD maps for automated driving on surface roads using two techniques

Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development, Inc. (TRI-AD), Toyota’s automated driving software development company, has successfully completed a proof-of-concept (PoC) demonstrating high definition (HD) map-building for surface roads with a relative accuracy of less than 50 centimeters—a good level that is required for automated driving—using two techniques.

  • Building map information for automated driving via map data derived from the cameras of ordinary vehicles as well as satellite imagery, without the use of conventional means of collecting data such as survey vehicles.


    Base satellite imagery

    Maxar Technologies, a trusted partner and innovator in Earth Intelligence and Space Infrastructure, Japan’s leading IT services provider NTT DATA Corporation (“NTT DATA”), and TRI-AD have been collaborating on a proof-of-concept to build automated HD maps for automated vehicles using the highest-resolution commercial satellite imagery since 25 April 2019. The PoC demonstrates it is now possible to extract automatically the required map information by analyzing and removing and correcting non-map image pixels such as automobiles, shadows, and occlusions due to the inclination of buildings in satellite imagery.


    Map information extraction

    Currently, maps with a relative accuracy of 25 centimeters were created within the 23 wards in Tokyo, as well as 6 cities globally, and were verified to be useful for automated driving purposes.

  • Applying vehicle data from TRI-AD’s Automated Mapping Platform (AMP) to other companies’ platforms by converting data formats and applying correcting algorithms.

    TRI-AD and a leading road intelligence platform, CARMERA Inc., have successfully conducted a camera-based HD mapping initiative. As part of their global partnership, the collaboration used “dashcam” drive recorders to detect and place key road features—such as lane markings, traffic signals and signs―within the 23 wards in Tokyo and 2 cities in the United States.


    Urban street-level object detection

    The project achieved a relative accuracy of 40 centimeters for key navigation features—a major advance in camera-only detection. TRI-AD’s work with CARMERA used the same hardware-agnostic computer vision and processing technology as CARMERA’s Real-Time Events and Change Management engine, which detects, validates and delivers navigation-critical updates to CARMERA’s regenerative HD mapping system in minutes rather than months. By using consumer-grade vehicle cameras that are common around the world, TRI-AD and CARMERA showcased a scalable approach to next-generation map making.

    Together, the companies showed that lower-class roads (urban roads), including lane markings necessary for automated driving, could be successfully created or updated in near real-time on TomTom’s HD map. The solution was achieved by verifying the reliability of the vehicle data collected by TRI-AD’s AMP, and then converting it for input into TomTom’s cloud-based transactional mapmaking platform.

    TRI-AD collaborated with HERE Technologies for this PoC. Correcting the positional errors in the vehicle data collected by TRI-AD, HERE was able automatically to create surface road maps using HERE’s advanced “Self-Healing” technology. By using only vehicle sensor data, HERE ingested the data into its platform and automatically generated HD maps including lane level information required for automated driving. HERE’s HD Live Map has already been selected to power some of the world’s most prestigious OEM’s Level 3 automated vehicle programs.

I’m very pleased to announce the results of the PoCs with Maxar and NTT DATA, and CARMERA, and also the results of our new demonstration partners, TomTom and HERE. We got a step closer to a future where automated driving becomes a safer and more accessible technology for all. We will continue to cooperate with partners as we further refine our accuracy.

—Mandali Khalesi, Vice President of Automated Driving Strategy and Mapping at TRI-AD

Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development, Inc. (TRI-AD), located in Tokyo, Japan, was founded in March 2018 for the purpose of developing innovative products that will enable Toyota’s vision, “Mobility for All.” TRI-AD’s mission is to create new technology and advanced safety systems for the world.

TRI-AD also oversees Toyota’s newly announced Woven City, that will serve as an incubator for smart city design, connected mobility, and robotics technology from Toyota and its partners.


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