HD Maps: Applications and Monetization before Autonomous Vehicles

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By Maite Bezerra | 4Q 2020 | IN-5945

Detailed High-Definition (HD) maps are necessary allies of Autonomous Vehicles (AVs), as they accurately position the car within the environment and their lane, while live attributes and constant updates allow vehicles to make instant decisions. Companies like Google, TomTom, and HERE have developed highly detailed, centimeter-level accurate HD maps to support different autonomous driving levels. These companies' maps include road furniture, traffic signs, and lane geography, and use Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms to validate map data in real time.

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HD Maps and Autonomous Vehicles

NEWS


Detailed High-Definition (HD) maps are necessary allies of Autonomous Vehicles (AVs), as they accurately position the car within the environment and their lane, while live attributes and constant updates allow vehicles to make instant decisions. As pointed out in our recent blog post, some companies like Google, TomTom, and HERE have developed highly detailed, centimeter-level accurate HD maps to support different autonomous driving levels. These companies' maps include road furniture, traffic signs, and lane geography, and use Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms to validate map data in real time.

Nevertheless, with the slow development of AVs due to technology, legislation, lack of infrastructure, and the industry slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, these companies must find different applications and ways to monetize their HD map solutions in the face of the absence of vehicles with Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Levels 3, 4, and 5.

Announcements during the COVID-19 Pandemic

IMPACT


Innovative connected services and last-mile or indoor location-based services look to be the strategic focus adopted by location companies to overcome the pandemic effects on the automotive industry and AV development. Recent announcements show how location companies are collecting detailed map attributes to enable monetization.

For instance, TomTom launched TomTom RoadCheck earlier this month, a tool that uses HD map attributes to determine whether automated functions can be activated. With this type of functionality, automotive Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) can define their AV functions' operational design domain and add autonomous driving rules and restrictions. The cloud-based service then delivers the information to the car through its pre-integrated AutoStream solution. The service is of great relevance considering the extensive list of conditions under which AVs can safely operate.

Last year, TomTom engaged in collaboration with Verizon to provide Three-Dimensional (3D) intersection visualization, based on TomTom HD maps, to emergency vehicles with high reliability and accuracy derived from near-real-time information shared by all entities at the intersection using Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network. This is not only an opportunity for monetization, but also accident reduction; there are an estimated 6,500 accidents involving ambulances that lead to fatalities or injuries in the United States every year.

Meanwhile, HERE is using HERE HD Live Map to augmented lane departure warning and lane-keeping assist services. HERE is also working with APCOA PARKING to develop and commercialize HD 3D indoor maps of Europe's parking facilities. This could enable services like autonomous valet parking, pre-booking parking spaces, and Augmented Reality (AR)-related experiences. The application is initially targeted at OEMs, mobility service providers, and smart cities. Fleet operators, Tier One suppliers, and smart logistics companies are among the additional target segments. HERE is also extending the scope of its in-vehicle-centric HD Map to other use cases. In collaboration with Triangraphics, a software company specializing in photo-realistic 3D terrains, HERE is delivering 3D models of road networks for use in driving simulations.

All of these applications are made possible by investments made originally to support the localization of AVs and demonstrate there is a monetization opportunity while the industry waits for the full rollout of AVs.

Location Services Moving Forward

RECOMMENDATIONS


There is no doubt that the development and deployment of AVs have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many companies having to decrease Research and Development (R&D) investments to support their operations due to lower vehicle sales. Nevertheless, OEMs' appetite to accelerate efforts to monetize the vehicle will be high. In this context, the pandemic offers location providers like TomTom a clear opportunity to focus on services and tools to support the incremental path toward fully automated driving in the absence of direct OEM R&D resources.

This opportunity extends beyond the fundamentals of AV navigation to the vehicle's broader digital user experience. For example, companies could use their extensive ecosystem of partners to help develop a marketplace for payment service providers to integrate with vehicles. Considering Electric Vehicle (EV) sales have been the least affected in 2020, indicating higher traction in the near to medium term, location service providers should enhance their portfolio of EV connected services.

To learn more, check out our blog post Is Autonomous Vehicle Mapping the Answer to the Latest European Car Safety Standards?

 

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