PARIS — Digital mapmaker HERE — owned by three leading German automakers BMW, Audi and Daimler — is planning the 2017 launch of new crowd-sourced data services based on sensory data collected from luxury cars.
HERE will provide both the driver and the car’s assisted-driving system with services that range from “HERE Hazard Warnings” and “HERE On-Street Parking” to “HERE Road Signs” and “HERE Real-Time Traffic.”
Angelos Lakrintis, industry analyst, automotive practice at Strategy Analytics, told us, “The car industry is undergoing massive digital disruptions. Real-time analytics, ecosystems are becoming more powerful, with autonomous vehicles on the horizon.”
But HERE isn’t alone in this emerging digital map market. Google paid $1 billion for Waze in 2013, and Ford Motor Co. in July invested in Civil Maps, a California startup that creates three-dimensional maps for self-driving cars.
So, how exactly are HERE’s new offerings different from its competitors’ digital map/traffic data services?
HERE’s spokesman based in Germany told EE Times: HERE’s new services “are the world’s first services created from real-time sensor data from competing car brands.” So far, traffic information services available to drivers have relied on GPS probe data — regular location information reported from a connected device, he explained. “These real-time services from HERE, however, will crowdsource the much richer data generated by sensors deeply embedded within the car.”
HERE’s announcement, however, poses several unanswered questions:
- Who else — beyond BMW, Audi and Daimler — will contribute data and provide HERE’s services to customers?
- How much sensory data will be processed inside a vehicle, and how will it communicate to the cloud?
- How will HERE’s services affect the coming battle in autonomous driving, which will depend on real-time, live traffic/map data.
Let’s start with the first question.
Strategy Analytics’ Lakrintis said, “It’s very useful to see what HERE can achieve outside its current customers (Audi, BMW, Daimler) and provide services to new customers and entities.”
Obviously, the more data generated by a greater number of cars from different car OEMs and contributed to HERE, the better its services will be.
A key to enticing others to join the crowd might be a revenue-sharing scheme.
Lakrintis told us that HERE will provide revenue sharing (from licensing) to automakers, suppliers, developers and others interested contributing data to the HERE platform that enables and processes the data.
From a technical perspective, though, a bigger issue related to HERE’s new services is how open the specifications will be for collected sensory data. For example, how much processing will be done to sensory data inside a vehicle, which sensory input will be collected and fused, and how will such data be communicated to the cloud.
Luca De Ambroggi, principal analyst, automotive semiconductor at IHS Markit, told us, “Those are still all open questions, and each OEM might implement them differently.” He suspects, however, that certain standards are necessary, especially as to “the way you process data, which sensory inputs are used for processing, and protocols you use in communicating such data to the cloud.”
As for HERE’s new services, what sort of vehicle-sourced data will HERE’s Open Location Platform will collect and process?
According to the company spokesman, it includes:
- Speed, direction and location of a vehicle
- Hard braking, as denoted by sharp deceleration
- Road construction, lane/road closures and traffic events such as accidents, as detected by the vehicle’s forward camera
- Hazard light usage
- Hazardous weather or road conditions, as determined for example by rain sensors, heavy use of windshield wipers, loss of tire traction or fog light usage
- Traffic sign information, including permanent and temporary speed limits, as detected by the car’s forward camera
To read the rest of this article, visit EBN sister site EE Times.