Innovative new system makes digital maps more up to date and accurate

January 5th, 2009 - 4:02 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Jan 5 (ANI): European researchers have designed an innovative new system to help keep motorists on the right track by constantly updating their digital maps and fixing anomalies and errors.

A large number of digital maps used by onboard GPS navigation systems are stored on DVDs or hard disks, with periodic updates only available on replacement disks.

In addition, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) such as adaptive cruise control (ACC) and lane-keeping systems (LKS) are beginning to make more extensive use of digital maps.

Given the safety dimension of ADAS applications, it is crucial that digital maps are highly accurate.

Some interactive solutions have made it to market. One example is the EU-backed ActMAP project, which developed mechanisms for online, incremental updates of digital map databases using wireless technology.

The system helps to shorten the time span between updates significantly.

Nevertheless, there is still room for improvement in terms of detecting map errors, changes in the real world, or monitoring highly dynamic events like local warnings automatically.

Addressing these ever-changing realities requires a radical rethink of the applied methodology.

The assumption behind ActMAP and other systems is that the supplier is responsible for all updates.

However, this approach overlooks a valuable source of information: the motorists who use the navigation systems themselves.

If anomalies found by road users could be automatically sent to the supplier, this could be used as a valuable supplementary source of information to iron out irregularities in maps and beam them back to the users.

This bottom-up approach is the basic premise of FeedMAP, which has been designed to work in a loop with ActMAP.

This means that, when the reality on the ground does not correspond with the digital map in the system, these so-called map deviations are automatically compiled into a map deviation report which is picked up by roadside sensors and relayed back to the supplier.

The driver can also report anomalies (s)he encounters manually.

FeedMAPs versatility and potential for fine-tuning means that it not only can help keep maps up to date, but it can also be used in numerous ADAS applications, including adaptive speed recommendations which advise drivers about speed limits on the road ahead, and speed deviation detection which updates recommended speeds based on feedback from actual driver behaviour.

FeedMAP can also be integrated into fuel-saving applications, which will be good for the environment and good for motorists wallets as well. (ANI)

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