A new development from Toyota is designed to provide precise road information and mapping data for use in the navigation of autonomous vehicles.
Existing vehicles from Toyota’s production range will be used to gather information from the road network to produce precise mapping data with which driverless will be able to navigate.
The maps will be produced using GPS devices and in-vehicle camera systems which will match positional information with images of the road, including markings, signage and topographical features and will be stored and processed at toyota data centres.
Toyota’s latest vehicle autonomy development will be showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2016) taking place in Las Vegas in January and will demonstrate how driverless cars will use road layouts, regulations and markings to help in making precise navigational decisions.
Currently, development vehicles use mapping data created by vehicles equipped with 3-dimensional laser scanners which are highly accurate but are very costly, infrequently updated and limited in coverage to those urban areas which have been scanned. Toyota’s alternative system uses commercial production technology which is fitted to substantially more vehicles and so provides more frequent data updates, represents less cost and covers a wider area.
Commenting on the poor accuracy when compared to high-precision laser scanners, Toyota is confident in its ability to mitigate this inaccuracy with the use of high precision trajectory estimation and image matching technology which integrates and corrects road image data from multiple vehicles, effectively averaging out the errors from several sources to achieve a margin of error equalling less than 50mm on straight roads.
Based on Toyota’s own proprietary cloud-based spatial information generation technology, the company expects to enter into collaborative agreements with GPS mapping suppliers to maximise the reach of its technology. Initially focusing on trunk routes and motorways, the mapping data will gradually expand to incorporate more urban and rural roads and be ready for production availability by the end of the decade.
This latest move in autonomous driving innovation is part of Toyota’s “Mobility Teammate Concept”, where the company envisions autonomy as being a cooperative collaboration between the vehicle and the driver to create safe and efficient mobility improvements into the future.