The mapping company HERE has announced what it’s calling next generation vehicle-sourced data services for the auto industry aimed at “making driving safer and more enjoyable for billions of people around the world”.
HERE says its Open Location Platform intends to harness real-time data generated by the on-board sensors of connected vehicles to create a live depiction of the road environment.
Drivers will be able to access this view of the road through four services that provide information on traffic conditions, potential road hazards, traffic signage and on-street parking at high quality.
The company says its goal is to ensure that drivers have more accurate and timely information with which they can make better driving decisions.
HERE plans to make the services commercially available to any customers both within and outside the automotive industry from the first half of 2017. It will start by sourcing sensor data from the companies who own it – Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz – with plans to later expand to include data from other brands.
It says that, in contributing their data, the participating brands are helping create superior services for drivers aimed at significantly reducing traffic congestion, enhancing the driving experience and cutting traffic accidents, which each year globally claim more than one million lives and leave millions more injured.
HERE believes these services will also support the automotive industry’s broader market introduction of advanced driver assisted systems and, later, autonomous driving solutions.
HERE CEO Edzard Overbeek says, “HERE believes that industry collaboration is essential to address the major challenges faced by road users everywhere. What we are seeing today is the technology and automotive industries coming together to create services that will elevate the driving experience for billions. This is also an important milestone for our Open Location Platform, which is ready to serve as the nerve center for future autonomous vehicles, smart cities and intelligent transportation systems.”
The HERE Open Location Platform will process vehicle-sourced data related to:
* Speed, direction and location of a vehicle
* Hard braking, as denoted by sharp deceleration
* Road construction, lane/road closures and traffic events such as accidents, as detected by
* the vehicle’s forward camera
* Hazard light usage
* Hazardous weather or road conditions, as determined for example by rain sensors, heavy
* use of windshield wipers, loss of tire traction or fog light usage
* Traffic sign information, including permanent and temporary speed limits, as detected by the car’s forward camera
The HERE Open Location Platform will harness the data to deliver four services (summarised below). For each service, firstly it ingests and processes data from each vehicle. Secondly, it combines the data with HERE location data services and other third-party information derived from devices, vehicles and infrastructure for deep and real-time analysis. Thirdly, it distributes enriched, targeted and actionable service content back to connected and eligible vehicles across the road network.
HERE Real-Time Traffic
The next generation of HERE’s live traffic service, HERE Real-Time Traffic provides real-time traffic information enhanced with the new streams of data. The result is a high-quality and low latency feed showing hard braking alerts; jam tail warnings, with improved coverage and positional accuracy; and traffic flow, with more precise and granular data also for lower-class arterial roads.
HERE Hazard Warnings
This service provides high-quality near real-time information about potential hazards, including accidents and extreme weather events, such as slippery roads and reduced visibility. Because this service is fueled by real-time, rich sensor data, the validity of the hazards are of high quality and more trustworthy than competing services.
HERE Road Signs
This service provides near real-time traffic signage information, including permanent and temporary speed limits, which is useful for both the driver as well as for cars equipped with connected ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) such as adaptive cruise control.
HERE On-Street Parking
This service provides information to drivers showing roads where parking is or is not permitted for each side of the street; availability predictions and time-to-park estimations for each street and at the particular time of day based on historical driver data; and streets with paid, free or lower-priced parking options. For this service, HERE utilises probe and sensor data from connected cars in combination with parking data from other sources to build greater awareness of on-street parking options and help mitigate a perennial headache for motorists and cities.
The power of data collaboration through the HERE Open Location Platform
HERE plans to make these four services available to any automaker, municipality, road authority, smartphone maker or app developer to license. As connectivity and vehicle sensor technologies become more pervasive across the industry, HERE also plans for other automakers to be able to contribute their vehicle data.
Driver privacy and safety
After the services are enabled, no driver input is required to transmit or receive data, ensuring the driver’s focus can be on the road, and not on a smartphone or other external device.
In a statement, the company explains that privacy has always been at the core of its strategy and that it has designed and developed its platform with “the privacy of the individual in mind”. HERE is committed to respecting the user’s privacy and complies with applicable data protection and privacy laws.
The data HERE plans to use from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz vehicles in the provision of these services will be anonymised with no personal identifiers so as to ensure privacy for drivers.