Real-Time Mapping Key To Autonomous Travel

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
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real time mapping key to autonomous travel

Like famed explorers Lewis & Clark, Amerigo Vespucci and Dora, autonomous vehicles will be at the mercy of whatever maps are available as they navigate the uncharted technological waters of the United States and beyond.

Automobile News reports mapping technology will become important in an autonomous vehicle’s V2I and V2V systems, with input coming from a collaborative effort between official sources and crowdsourcing.

In particular, mapping could be accomplished between vehicles via data collection and distribution on a real-time basis, such as the case now through smartphone apps that allow drivers to pass such data along to each other.

When the road runs out or hasn’t been mapped, however, it may end up in the hands of the driver passenger to take up where the vehicle left off. In turn, the data would be passed along as normal to others making a similar trek, improving upon what was discovered before so long as the road continues to see traffic on a frequent basis to ensure accuracy.

Meanwhile, government agencies and map makers could be called upon to create a digital infrastructure framework that would allow for “a static and dynamic representation of the physical world that would determine how autonomous vehicles get around,” according to Maxime Flament of ERTICO-ITS Europe. The standardized framework would further ensure accuracy and reliability in the maps for tomorrow’s autonomous vehicles.

Cameron Aubernon
Cameron Aubernon

Seattle-based writer, blogger, and photographer for many a publication. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.

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  • Dwford Dwford on Sep 15, 2014

    So the current state of autonomous driving is that these cars are just following a digital map in their brains based on their GPS location, and not actually viewing the road/signs/cars/people around them, then reacting to surroundings based on proximity sensors? There isn't actually any thinking machinery in the car that knows what it's doing? This makes me even less likely to want an autonomous car.

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    • Roader Roader on Sep 15, 2014

      @Landcrusher I did that myself in Nicaragua just outside of Granada, getting stuck on a sand dune in the middle of a sugarcane field less than a kilometer from Lago de Nicaragua. But helpful locals picked up my Fiat Punta or whatever the heck I rented and got me turned around and on my way. I'm guessing that in ten years autonomous vehicles will just refuse to go some places I wish to go. That's OK...I'll just override the computer (電 腦) and take control.

  • Petezeiss Petezeiss on Sep 15, 2014

    Truly autonomous cars are solidly in the manned-mission-to-mars category of liklihood. But everyone feels compelled to report on the fledgling efforts. Light entertainment.

  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Sep 15, 2014

    I think it will take what - probably 50 more years before they have this worked out, since a fully autonomous system only works (legally and otherwise) if you prevent manual vehicles from being on the roads in large quantities. I don't want this to happen though, at all. Just drive yourselves, ugh. *Cut to me 50 years from now, having some old car with a big red M (manual) plate on the back of it.

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    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Sep 15, 2014

      @Landcrusher - valid point. Easy to implement if no one is allowed to drive. All you need is one red neck in an armoured 1979 F350 and the whole system goes down in flames.