Autonomous driving represents the greatest disruption in mobility since the invention of the car. It will not only radically transform the way we travel, but also boost the safety, comfort and efficiency of vehicles to a level beyond imagination.
Autonomous vehicles require maps that are significantly different from the maps that are used in today’s navigation systems. In order to operate safely, efficiently and in a comfortable way for passengers, autonomous vehicles need high-definition maps that allow for centimeter-level accuracy. HD Maps also need to be updated frequently, to reflect changes such as lane closures, roadworks and updated speed limits.
TomTom HD Maps enable path planning, aid perception, and allow an autonomous vehicle to see and anticipate the road ahead even beyond the range of its sensors. Enabled by its real-time map infrastructure, TomTom HD Maps provide a highly accurate and realistic representation of the roadway profile, including key elements such as 3D geometry, lane markings and road furniture. TomTom HD Maps are not limited to autonomous vehicles, but can also be leveraged to fulfil a broad range of ADAS applications such as predictive powertrain control, eco-routing and curve speed warnings.
To further scale up our HD mapmaking and map maintenance, we extract map data such as road geometry, traffic signs and landmarks from camera images. This type of data is particularly relevant when it comes to updating an HD Map to reflect reality, for example when it is used to perform object-based localisation.
The first generation of the TomTom HD Map focuses on highway driving; support for other environments, both urban and rural, will follow as autonomous driving evolves.
A key challenge of autonomous driving is determining the exact location of an autonomous vehicle on the road. In order to operate safely and efficiently, it is key for an autonomous vehicle to be able to locate itself on a specific lane with extreme accuracy. Today’s navigation systems use traditional GPS for localisation; however, traditional GPS fails to deliver the needed level of accuracy and robustness to enable autonomous driving.
To address this challenge, TomTom has developed RoadDNA, a localisation layer in the TomTom HD Map that enables accurate and robust localisation for autonomous vehicles. TomTom’s patented RoadDNA technology delivers a highly optimised, 3D lateral and longitudinal view of the roadway. With this, a vehicle can correlate RoadDNA data with data obtained by its own sensors. By doing this correlation in real time, TomTom RoadDNA precisely locates a vehicle on the road, even while travelling at high speeds.
By converting a 3D point cloud of roadside patterns into a compressed, 2D view of the roadway, TomTom RoadDNA delivers a solution that can be used in-vehicle with limited processing requirements. Without losing roadway detail, TomTom RoadDNA follows a feature-agnostic approach which is robust and scalable. This technique eliminates the complexity of identifying each single roadway object, but rather creates a unique pattern of the roadway environment.