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Self-driving vehicles ‘need data standards’ says report

12/07/19

Mark Say Managing Editor

National mapping agency Ordnance Survey has called for a set of data standards to support the safe deployment of self-driving vehicles.

Aerial shot of roundabout

Working with Zenzic – which provides a UK hub of government, academia and industry in the sector – it has published a report on global standards for high definition mapping.

It says these are needed to promote collaboration and improve confidence in mapping data for what are also known as connected autonomous vehicles (CAVs).

Among the points in the report – titled Geodata report – analysis and recommendations for self-driving vehicle testing – is that maps will need a resolution better than 5cm to ensure vehicles can operate in complex environments.

They will also need to include information on curbs, street level features such as lampposts, pedestrian crossings and road markings.

Seeing around corners

Real time updates will be crucial to enable self-driving vehicles to ‘see’ around corners for temporary objects such as roadworks and skips.

The updates would also enable a vehicle to reference the position of other road users against what it already knows to be there, and provide a back-up in a situation where a car’s sensors are less effectively, such as when there are adverse weather conditions.

The report says there is currently no single source of high definition mapping data and suggests the need for a neutrally hosted platform. This would draw on data from multiple sources, which would increase confidence in its reliability and help different self-driving vehicles travel on the same stretch of road.

But this would need standards for how data is collected and shared and for them to be implemented globally.

Simon Navin, Ordnance Survey’s head of innovation programmes, said: “Through our work with Zenzic we are helping define the geospatial and mapping requirements that will accelerate the testing and adoption of self-driving technologies so that these benefits can be realised safely and efficiently.

“As Great Britain’s national mapping agency, we believe that consistent, authoritative and trusted data provides a framework for safe operation, interoperability and open standards development. It will also enable innovative solutions from a wide range of providers who will bring new and exciting solutions to the U.K. mobility sector”.

Image from Ordnance Survey

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