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VW, Mobileye create ‘super navigation data’ for autonomous driving

Volkswagen and Mobileye are planning to implement a new navigation standard for autonomous driving starting in 2018.

Future Volkswagen models will use the camera-based map and localisation technology Road Experience Management (REM) from Mobileye. Representatives of the two companies signed an agreement to this effect on February 10. The wide-ranging cooperation was approved by Professor Amnon Shashua, Chairman and Chief Technology Officer of Mobileye, and Dr Herbert Diess, Chairman of the Board of Management of the VW brand. Mobileye and VW are taking the next step towards autonomous driving. In the future, both will be jointly collecting data and utilising this for a new generation of highly intelligent maps.

The Israel-based company Mobileye is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of technologies for accident prevention and autonomous driving. REM is one of the latest Mobileye systems. Using crowd-sourcing (data from many cars – the swarm) to generate real-time data for precise localisation and acquisition of high-definition track data. This makes REM an elementary information level for autonomous driving. Here is how REM works in practice: the VW cars, which are equipped with front cameras, acquire lane markings and road information via optical sensor systems from Mobileye, and this information flows in compressed format into a cloud. This fleet data is used for continuous improvement of high-definition navigation maps with highly precise localisation capability. These, in turn, serve as a foundation for autonomous driving and advanced development of many assistance systems.

“The future of autonomous driving depends on the ability to create and maintain precise high-definition maps and scale them at minimal cost,” said Professor Amnon Shashua, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Mobileye. Professor Shashua added this: “The VW agreement is a turning point. It not only utilises crowd-sourcing technology to automatically generate high-definition maps and scale them cost-effectively. A much more important aspect is that the agreement provides a framework for industry-wide cooperation between automobile manufacturers to jointly produce the map contents that are needed for autonomous driving.”

In fact, the agreement is the first of its kind to merge the data of different automobile manufacturers worldwide to create a single ‘high-definition world map’. And this will form an industry-wide standard. Dr Frank Welsch, Member of the Board of Management VW Brand responsible for Development: “Every day millions of VW vehicles drive on our streets. Many of them are equipped with sensors to monitor the surroundings. We can now utilise this swarm to obtain various environmental data in anonymised related to traffic flow, road conditions and available parking places, and we can make these highly up-to-date data available in higher-level systems. More services are planned which will be able to utilise these data and make car driving and mobility easier with greater convenience and comfort overall. Not only our VW customers will benefit from this collaborative work.”

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