A fleet of several thousand spy cars tirelessly ply the streets of the main cities of Europe, the Americas, Russia, Asia and Australia. Their mission? Note the outline of the roadway and sidewalks, note the configuration of the streets and their intersections, memorize the appearance of the buildings bordering them. This long-term work will never end: it aims to offer connected vehicles an ever more realistic and precise vision of the world in which they drive. With the ambition to one day give them the visual acuity necessary to relieve humans of the task of driving.
Ultra-realistic 3D city mapping, a practical spin-off from autonomous car racing
To become autonomous in the city, the car must not only perceive the movements of other users but also know very exactly, to the nearest centimeter, where it puts its wheels. For this, its GPS navigator must be able to rely on a cartographic survey with a much higher precision than that of current navigators. From 3 to 5 meters today, the ground accuracy will soon fall into the centimeter domain.
Obviously, the volume of
he data that represents the digitization of such a degree of precision of a single quarter is enough to make you dizzy. Every day, more than 28 terabytes are collected by the HERE Technologies localization data and services platform. It is therefore impossible to envisage recording an entire country in the memory of each vehicle. It will take download one district after another, as the vehicle moves forward. Hence the importance of the 5G data network, the only one capable of ensuring constant updating in real time.
With 3D, your car’s GPS gains in precision and realism
On the occasion of the 2021 edition of CES, HERE Technologies announces the availability of “high-fidelity 3D models of 75 city centers around the world” allowing software developers to produce a representation of cities that is more realistic than never. A first application of these data is offered by the automotive supplier Continental, which has integrated screens compatible with Leia’s Lightfield software into a laboratory vehicle. These allow the driver of an automobile to view 3D maps without having to wear suitable glasses. No need to install a gaze tracking sensor, with perfectible reliability.
Vice-President at HERE Technologies, Jørgen Behrens gives an overview of the progress made: “Our HERE 3D Premier Cities mapping makes it possible to distinguish two neighboring doors of the same building, to guide delivery people of the last mile more precisely, by offering them clear and unequivocal benchmarks. For example, the texture and color of a facade, in addition to the height of each building. ” Enough to venture into the maze of alleys and back alleys of a business park without the risk of getting lost, promises HERE Technologies.
When the car borrows from video games
HERE Technologies does not intend its 3D mapping only for car manufacturers. “City-planning architects and emergency services will be able to rely on our HERE 3D Premier Cities mapping to simulate traffic flows and assess the efficiency of the configuration of a projected intersection,” says Jørgen Behrens. “Another example, the use of these 3D models allows to create a virtual immersion in buildings and facilitates the integration of computer-generated imagery into video games. In the telecom industry, these models can help operators model their 5G networks in 3D. ”
To obtain such a wealth of data, HERE Technologies relies on lidar and satellite surveys, as well as on 360-degree photographs of the premises. Compiled and interpreted by artificial intelligence, this data is then split into “small tiles”, able to be transmitted quickly. The on-board browser in the Audi A8 limousine is thus able to download one by one each square kilometer of the first 75 cities modeled in three dimensions by HERE. The company is letting developers of all stripes know that sample data from London, Berlin and Munich is available on its Amazon Web Service store (AWS Data Exchange).
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