Japan: Japanese residential maps maker, Zenrin is working on a system that transmits complete maps to autonomous cars in real time. To achieve this, the company is using data gathered by vehicles, such as Mitsubishi Electric’s MMS, as well as print maps, and have added information that changes over time, such as lane markings and stop lines. A 3-D map is automatically created from these data sets and is regularly updated with information such as new roads and new traffic signs, for instance.
This becomes extremely significant as self-driving cars in everyday life is just around the corner. And therefore to navigate safely, autonomous cars need to know exactly where they are, down to a few centimeters, and where to go next. Maps used in car navigation systems are not sufficiently accurate to pinpoint a vehicle’s location to within a meter.
Self-driving cars have sensors, but objects such as a distant traffic light or road signs are hard to detect. Finely detailed maps will allow autonomous cars to anticipate road conditions and help passengers get a handle on the weather. Competition in the mapping business is, therefore, heating up in Japan and elsewhere.