TomTom and the Chinese web service Baidu are joining forces to develop high definition (HD) maps for autonomous driving and also developing ultra-fast lane level traffic technology
The companies say their collaboration on the development of a global HD map service combines TomTom and Baidu’s expertise in HD map-making and artificial intelligence (AI). Baidu say they will leverage TomTom’s Real-Time Map Platform to improve HD map-related technologies utilised in China.
TomTom says its HD Map and RoadDNA are two “revolutionary, highly accurate, digital map products helping automated vehicles precisely locate themselves on the road and plan manoeuvres, even when traveling at high speeds”. TomTom’s HD Map already covers the USA and Western Europe, with more than 200,000 miles of highways and interstates mapped.
Harold Goddijn, CEO, TomTom, said, “With Baidu moving to TomTom’s map making platform for high definition maps, we’re creating a globally unified HD map service for OEMs and technology companies who are working on the future of driving. We are convinced that we can accelerate this future with smart partners like Baidu.”
Qi Lu, COO, Baidu, commented, “Autonomous driving is a paradigm shift for the automotive industry, and engineering and testing the systems to make it a reality is much less effort when those systems are globally identical. Our collaboration with TomTom creates a uniform global component in the form of a single HD map service, and further advances our open source self-driving car programme, Apollo.”
TomTom has also announced it is developing ultra-fast lane level traffic technology supporting autonomous driving and smarter mobility.
Research will be done in cooperation with Cisco to leverage roadside data captured by Cisco’s array of sensors, routers and controllers to create the next generation of traffic information technology. The company says the research combines Cisco’s data with TomTom’s traffic fusion technology and expertise, supported by Cisco’s Internet of Things platform.
It says one particularly innovative aspect of this cooperation is the use of Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) technology, which has the ability to convert a fibre optic cable into an array of virtual microphones that detect and measure vehicle movements. This data is to be merged with TomTom’s pool of floating car data from over 500 million devices. It will then be displayed and analysed in a TomTom interface specifically designed for the needs of Traffic Management Centres.
“With this project, we are connecting road infrastructure, vehicles, drivers and road authorities, enabling them to exchange information in near real time. That is what the Internet of Things is about. With TomTom’s expertise, its gigantic pool of traffic data and innovative traffic technology, TomTom is a strong company to work with in this field,” said Edwin Paalvast, President EMEAR at Cisco.
This research and development is expected to reduce latency and increase accuracy of real time traffic services, while reducing the costs of traffic monitoring infrastructure. As an example, DAS technology promises to be significantly cheaper to set up and maintain than traditional inductive loop sensors. This project aims to develop better products supporting the demanding requirements of autonomous driving, where cars need to know what lies beyond their sensors, in real time and on each lane.
“We strongly believe that Internet of Things and cloud technologies are essential parts to the future of mobility and we are excited to work with Cisco in moving traffic technology forward”, explains Anders Truelsen, Managing Director of TomTom’s Licensing Business.