Cohesive approach to geospatial data vital for AV development

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One of the most substantial roadblocks to widespread adoption of autonomous vehicles on the UK’s roads is standardization of mapping data across manufacturers. This is the conclusion of a new report by Zenzic, an organization looking to further development of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs).

The report, Geodata report – analysis and recommendations for self-driving vehicle testing Zenzic consultation findings, showed that solving the current fragmentation of geospatial mapping data is vital to ensuring and enabling self-driving vehicles operate safely on the road both in the UK and around the world.

In the report, Zenzic offers initial steps toward creating a consensus on mapping requirements based on industry-wide feedback and recommendations across six key areas: data formats, data quality and resolution, terminology, minimum safe requirements and standards, government data and traffic regulation orders (TROs) and data hosting.

The findings are based on the input of organizations including Arcadis and Midlands Future Mobility and additional international partners.

The report found that merging mapping data from regional sources (there are over 200 local highway authorities in the UK alone) will require streamlining to avoid multiple different ways of processing and handling data. Additionally, it was ascertained that mapping data quality, specifically accuracy and precision of such data, is seen to be more important than resolution. On this point, 10cm (with 5cm for lane boundary information) was posited as suitable resolution for AV systems that use HD maps and 2cm for those that do not.

Zenzic suggested that connected and self-driving technology industries should follow the gaming, weather and BIM (building information modelling) sectors when it comes to finding common terminology, in addition to working closely with BSI and the Open Geospatial Consortium. It also noted that currently both TN-ITS and ISO 20542 standards are widely used by equipment and vehicle manufacturers. Harmonization between the two standards will take some time, so testing facilities must initially be able to accommodate both.

Daniel Ruiz, CEO, Zenzic, commented, “This report shows that the global self-driving vehicle development industry agrees that mapping data needs to be easily shareable for us to achieve the goal of having self-driving vehicles on our streets by 2030. When it comes to the maps which will form the basis of how self-driving vehicles see the world, the details matter, from how this data is shared, to what resolution of mapping data is deemed safe. The UK is well placed to lead the development of standards and regulation as organizations like OS and BSI have done for some decades.”

For the full details you can download the report here.

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