'Autonomous driving' is the hottest phrase in the automotive industry right now, and never has a topic been more hotly debated with recent industry discussions surrounding the role of the insurance industry. 

But, as is often the case, the technology for autonomous cars is way ahead of the policy-refining and infrastructure, and these photos show us one area where vehicles are more than capable – accurately mapping what’s around them.

Audi, BMW and Daimler bought mapping company HERE from Nokia last year, demonstrating how important this tech is for future vehicles. Now HERE has mapped London, creating a range of 3D images showing the level of detail which autonomous vehicles have at their disposal. 

Most closely akin to Google Streetview cars, HERE’s ‘True’ vehicles use LiDAR (light detection and ranging) tech to pinpoint kerbs, trees and road furniture to a 10cm accuracy. All of this information is then transposed to a dynamic representation of the road, called HERE HD Live Map, which updates in near real-time, according to HERE.

These cool-looking photos combine three layers of maps:

HD Map layer contains details of precise lane geometry and boundaries, informs the vehicle of the roads around it and knows which lane it is allowed in. This layer provides traversal information including lane type, markings and speed limit information.