Bosch and TomTom work together on radar-generated map for autonomous vehicles image

The renowned parts supplier has been involved for years in the race towards autonomous cars, and now has revealed its partnership with navigation expert TomTom has yielded the invention of a new mapping technique.

The automakers and tech companies have been using video data for parts of the vehicle localization process (we’re talking about the other ones) – but there are severe limitations, such as dark and adverse weather conditions. In addition, crunching data from this format is hard because the complex technology eats a lot of space from the cloud. Bosch and Dutch specialist TomTom are coming with an alternative – radar technology, and the “radar road signature” is using the reflection points as the radar waves hit obstacles. The autonomous vehicles can use that to accurately pinpoint their and others position on the road down to centimeters, says Bosch.

“The radar road signature is a milestone on the path towards automated driving. It will enable automated vehicles to reliably determine their location at all times,” says Bosch executive Dirk Hoheisel. The advantages of the radar system against visual recognition systems go beyond the fact it functions the same irrespective of outside conditions – with a range of 250 meters it’s besting video data detection by 100 meters and also comes with half the volume of data. The two companies are looking to set up the technology for commercial use by 2020 in Europe and the United States.