Reflecting the Real World
HD maps reflect the real world in data form, including lane lines that control traffic flow by signaling to drivers what actions are legal and where. Passing, no passing, turning; lane lines instantly communicate a plethora of information to drivers. With technological advancements, autonomous vehicles have also begun to use lane lines. When HD maps grow out of date, if the physical lane lines of the road are too obscured for the system to pick up, the vehicle becomes at a disadvantage, possibly even rendered unable to continue autonomously.
Even so, the capabilities of smart vehicles have grown tremendously. Tesla cars have begun to map potholes to forewarn other Teslas of an upcoming rough patch of road and adjust the suspension to compensate. Those pothole maps could be updated in real-time, signaling physical degradation of the road when it becomes noticeable by sensors. The forewarning allows the vehicle to respond appropriately to an upcoming change in its route. A system such as this illustrates the value of updating maps in real-time.
Teslas have begun to take notice of changes in the roads and manage those changes by responding accordingly. Roads change every day. Potholes form, lane lines fade, work zones open, and lines get repainted. Mapping these changes in real-time on a digital map allows vehicles to react accordingly to the changes. A digital representation of the real world is a critical component for reacting to real world changes. Being able to adjust to potholes and rough roads enables Teslas to create a more comfortable ride for passengers and avoid potential damage to the vehicle. Now, imagine if that ability to adapt to the road extended to tolane lines and work zones.
The Virtual Markings Exchange
As with Tesla’s pothole mapping, updating HD maps is the key to allowing autonomous vehicles to thrive on the modern road. Potholes aren’t the only changes that roads undergo. The lane lines on roads fade over time and get replaced. During road work, the lines temporarily change to accommodate work zones. These are challenges that autonomous vehicles face every day. When roads are updated, HD maps become out-of-date, remaining so until the area is rescanned and reentered into the HD map’s data. Stretches of roads could be left out-of-date for months at a time, the lines fading before HD maps update. The demand for time and effort grows exponentially for every mile covered.
Reflect Change in Real Time
Updating the map in real-time as the changes occur is the most logical and cost-saving solution. The Virtual Markings Exchange, with its five levels of data, is the future of HD maps and autonomous vehicle navigation. Real-time over-the-air updates the moment a road is changed. Less waiting for costly rescanning and entering of data. No more stretches of road left out of date for months at a time. Manually scanning road lane lines will become a thing of the past with the Virtual Markings Exchange. Save on costly expeditions to rescan the roads and lower vehicle emissions.
Improve the Efficiency of Existing ADS.
The first two levels of the V-Markings data will improve the efficiency of any existing ADS. These levels are about creating an accurate digital representation of the real world. Much like Tesla’s pothole maps, the first two levels of the Virtual Markings Exchange focus on tracking real world changes and providing the vehicle with the data needed to adapt to them.
Peer into the Future of Lane Lines.
Accurate lane lines locations are only the beginning. Lane liness created for human drivers are the starting point for what comes next. In an autonomous future, digital lane lines guide technologically advanced vehicles. Not only will there be digital lane lines intended for autonomous vehicles, but those lane lines will also exist where there are no physical lane lines. Many rural roads lack lane lines, relying on a driver’s knowledge of road rules to ensure safe traffic flow. In these places, where there have never been and may never be lane lines, digitally created lane lines could signal those road rules to autonomous vehicles. Such will open more of the world’s roads to autonomous vehicles and expand their reach. A digital layer of signals tailored for autonomous vehicles and related technologies will arise atop the faithful adaptation of the lane lines intended for human use.