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Toyota and CARMERA team up to build HD maps for automated vehicles using camera data

CARMERA feature detection image in downtown Tokyo

Japan: Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development (TRI-AD) and CARMERA have announced that they are joining forces to conduct a proof of concept about developing camera-based automation of high definition (“HD”) maps for urban and surface roads. This is the first step towards realizing TRI-AD’s open software platform concept known as Automated Mapping Platform (“AMP”) to support the scalability of highly automated driving, by combining data gathered from vehicles of participating companies to generate HD maps.

Automated driving requires highly reliable road information based on HD map data. While the creation of highway HD maps is underway, this coverage represents less than 1%*1 of the worldwide road network. The next challenge is to create and maintain maps for urban areas and local roads that go beyond the highway road network.

In this proof of concept, the two companies will place cameras in Toyota test vehicles to collect data over several months from areas of downtown Tokyo. The cameras installed in the test vehicles use Toyota Safety Sense (“TSS”) components that Toyota installs on its vehicles globally. Images and other data gathered from TSS will be processed on CARMERA’s real-time platform to automatically generate HD map data. In addition, by placing commercially available “dashcam” drive recorders in Toyota test vehicles, the project will demonstrate automated map generation from a broader range of sources that do not have TSS. This draws upon CARMERA’s millions of miles of driving video collected, structured and enriched through safety monitoring partnerships with professional fleets in other complex environments like New York City.

By combining maps automatically generated via the techniques employed in this project with digital maps available today, it will be possible to provide even more reliable road information to automated vehicles in the future. And by generating HD maps based on data acquired from commercially available vehicles around the world, automated driving can be enabled on all roads.

Mandali Khalesi, Vice President Automated Driving at TRI-AD, said: “Currently automated driving map development relies on highly expensive specialized mapping vehicles deployed in limited numbers, and a lengthy manual process for reliable HD map creation. We’re excited to partner with CARMERA to automate HD map generation and help enable automated driving mobility for all.”

Ro Gupta, CEO at CARMERA, said: “CARMERA was founded to deploy next-generation street intelligence at low cost, high speed and automotive-grade reliability, in order to democratize autonomous mobility at global scale. We’re excited to collaborate with TRI-AD in putting the flexibility and modularity of our platform to work to build HD maps, beginning with one of the largest and most dynamic urban environments in the world.”