How card manufacturers are preparing for autonomous driving


In order for autonomous cars to be able to move safely, they need a variety of different data that are updated in real time – far more than simple navigation systems currently deliver. The card manufacturers TomTom, Here, Waymo and a few others still have a lot of work ahead of them to provide cars of the future with more data for self-driving.

In order to understand why this is the case, you should take a step back: So far, navigation maps have been used by people who evaluate them and act accordingly. Streets are not drawn to scale, but much wider because otherwise it would be difficult to see them. Traffic signs are missing because it is assumed that the human steering, gas and brake servant recognizes them himself. A well-combed network with little information is enough for conventional navigation systems to calculate the most time-saving or shortest connection from A to B. A navigation system uses data that goes beyond the bare digital image of streets as an addition. At best, it calculates diversions and the currently fastest connection using historically aggregated traffic flow data, some of which are also updated via mobile telephony.

For autonomous driving from autonomy level 3, from which a vehicle does certain tasks such as changing lanes, cars need a more precise image of their surroundings. For example, you need to know exactly how wide the maneuvering space of the street is. A conventional navigation map with its data basis of about seven meters resolution is not enough. Maps for autonomous driving also need better coverage overall, for example for parking garages where the car should also drive independently to certain parking decks. But it's not just the cover and the accuracy that conventional cards fail to achieve.

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