Bosch, TomTom tap radar sensors to create road maps

June 07, 2017 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Automated driving requires very exact, concurrent virtual roadmaps. These maps are normally composed by the camera images from the vehicles. Together with map services provider TomTom, Bosch has developed a technology to complement these maps by means of the radar signals collectively acquired by thousands of vehicles that have passed the respective road section before. This makes the maps more exact and timely. But it requires some tweaks to the radar sensors.

A vehicle driving on autopilot (level 3 or higher) along a road, relies for accurate localization on two sources of information: its own sensors (radar, video, lidar) and a highly exact street map it receives from a service provider in the cloud. So far, these maps are composed of video signals from the cameras in the vehicles. In the cloud, these signals are processed to create a virtual map consisting of three data layers: The localization layer, the planning layer and the dynamic layer.

In a collaboration with TomTom, Bosch has developed all it needs to complement the localization layer with radar data. Towards this end, the radar echoes from the cars (all cars, not only autonomous vehicles) on the road (“Radar Road Signature”) are captured and sent to Bosch’s own cloud where the billions of radar echoes are combined to a radar map which in turn is passed on to the map provider’s cloud and, in most cases, to the cloud of the respective carmaker. From there, the current map data are transmitted to the automated vehicles on the road. These vehicles then use the virtual map to compare it with the data from their own local radar sensors to generate a trajectory plan. It helps them to navigate at an accuracy of a few centimeters, Bosch says.