The Japanese manufacturer says the new system – which gathers data from production vehicles as opposed to the traditional method of using specially built vehicles equipped with 3D laser scanners – will help the safe introduction of automated driving.
The road images and vehicle position information gathered from cars is sent to data centres where it is automatically pieced together, corrected and updated to create highly accurate maps that cover a wide area.
Automated driving systems will need an accurate understanding of road layouts and traffic restrictions, speed limits and signage. Also, precise measurement of vehicle positional data requires the collection of information on dividing lines, kerbs and other road features.
Using the traditional (and more costly) method of mapping via 3D laser scanners data has to be manually edited to add information on road features, such as kerbs, divides and signage. The data collection is infrequent, so the maps are not updated regularly and their usefulness is limited.