Consider this scenario: A distracted driver is in an unfamiliar city. Rushing to an appointment, the driver is busy sending a text message. The vehicle's navigation system had earlier given an alert of the need to be in the dedicated right turn lane in the upcoming intersection where he or she needs to exit. Attempting a quick lane change, onboard sensors prevent the driver from making a careless mistake and the vehicle's ABS system, reacting to road curve data from the navigation system, slows the vehicle to a safe speed. The navigation system then provides the driver a safe alternative to reach the destination on time.
Such Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) are starting to come into the mainstream, but mapping providers, such as Tele Atlas, are being taxed to furnish the required data.
ADAS is coming of age, and given the fact that about 80% of all accidents are due to human error, the need for the technology has never been greater. Drivers face increasing challenges on the roadwaysmore traffic, and more rushed, distracted drivers trying to multi-task while driving. Vehicles themselves are safer than ever with bricks-and-mortar technology like side-curtain and front airbags. Electronics are playing an increasing role in vehicle safety with probes, cameras, and sensors providing warning of danger in many situations.
Not just for location anymore
Navigation systems are becoming an increasingly important component of the vehicle's overall safety system. Navigation devices today primarily assist drivers in unfamiliar areas with clear instructions, minimizing distraction caused by searching for road signs and landmarks. Such systems also help drivers make their way through complex intersectionsgiving them adequate time to correctly position themselves to execute a turn, where, for example, multiple freeways intersect and lane choice is critical to the driver not making a sudden, potentially dangerous move to reach the desired exit ramp in time.
But providing clear directions through unfamiliar territory only knocks on the door of the potential of these systems to contribute to overall safety. Detailed information about the road itself, including precise data on the road's position, contour, and curvature, as well as dynamic traffic and road-construction information, can help provide a more complete picture of the way ahead to help drivers better understand current conditions and prepare for what is around the next corner.
In short, the ability to give the driver information about the situation at hand, to help he or she become more intimate and familiar with the surroundings, and help both driver and vehicle better react to current conditions, is the end game for ADAS. Mapping data is a critical component to reaching that goal.
Sophisticated data collection techniques
From a data collection standpoint, Tele Atlas, for instance, is geared up to provide that information with a massive effort to collect new data and update existing data for more than a million miles of North American roadways to meet ADAS standards. Tele Atlas has nearly 50 Mobile Mapping vans traversing North American, European, and Asia Pacific roadways, each equipped with at least six cameras precisely capturing data in a 360-degree range. The quality of the images is superior and highly accurate which is especially vital when measuring attributes such as the height of bridges and length of tunnels.
Unlike aerial photographs or satellite images, such Tele Atlas maps are delivered as a vector database. That means streets, landmarks and signposts are modeled as a set of precise x and y coordinate pairs that represent the position of these objects in space and their spatial relationship to one another. The end result: Precise positional accuracy of those points and more detail, such as the exact curve a road takes, to better assist the driver and vehicle systems.
The vans also capture what drivers would noticeincluding names of roads, turnoffs, landmarks, and speed limit changes. But more importantly, the vans use sophisticated electronics like 3D gyroscopes to capture slope and curvature information, bridge height and weight restrictions, tunnel restrictions, and other roadway features that could have an impact on how a driver reacts to a particular situation. Tele Atlas Mobile Mapping vans capture data quickly, traveling at posted highway speeds, with advanced back-end processing methodologies helping process and package data efficiently and accurately.
These vans, combined with the more than 50,000 independent sources Tele Atlas uses to collect and update map data globally, help ensure that changes to map information (from new streets or points of interest to changes in traffic flows, restricted maneuvers, and speed restrictions and signage), which occur at a rate of approximately 10 to 15% a year on average (and can be much higher in high-growth areas) are as current as possible.
This wealth of data, sophisticated context-specific information that can be readily integrated with on-board electronics, is already having an impact on both vehicle safety and efficiency, and is anticipated to have far reaching effects on emerging ADAS applications.