BMW China and Beijing-based Mapping Company NavInfo to Develop HD Maps for Autonomous Driving
China is the world's biggest auto market and the country is also looking to become a world leader in electric vehicles and autonomous driving technology. However, before self-driving cars can safely navigate on public roads, they require high definition maps along with the typical suite of cameras, radar and other autonomous driving hardware.
BMW China is looking to expand its autonomous driving in China and is partnering with Beijing-based navigation company NavInfo to develop high-precision maps necessary for driverless cars. The deal was first reported by Chinese automotive news site Gasgoo.
"As one of core technologies for autonomous driving, HD map plays an irreplaceable role in prediction of real-time traffic conditions, driving strategy and driving safety. NavInfo is China's leading location-based service provider and is also a long-term business partner of BMW China. The latest cooperation will give great impetus to BMW's development of autonomous driving deployment in China," said Jochen Goller, President and CEO of BMW Group Region China.
Compared to traditional navigation maps that are accurate to the "road level", high-definition maps can achieve information recognition at "lane level" with centimeter-level accuracy, not only showing lane width and road markings, but also various obstacles such as non-motor vehicle lanes, access roads, trees, mailboxes and curbs.
Precise road information can help BMW's future autonomous cars accurately recognize surrounding environments and make optimal driving decisions. These high-precision maps are not static, they can be updated with over the air software and pushed to a vehicle as needed in cases of road closures or construction zones.
In May 2018, BMW was granted the Shanghai Intelligent Connected Autonomous Driving Test License issued by Shanghai's local authorities, becoming the first foreign automaker permitted to carry out autonomous vehicle road tests.
In 2016, BMW demonstrated the level-3 autonomous driving technology for the first time on the Chengdu Expressway.
The BMW iNEXT, the automakers first model equipped with level-3 autonomous driving capability is expected to be launched in 2021.
In February, HERE Technologies, the digital mapping company owned by BMW, Audi and Mercedes Benz said it had partnered with Navinfo to offer location services in China.
Similar to its partnership with BMW, NavInfo is providing Chinese mapping data to HERE, which the company will convert to its own worldwide specification to make the maps compatible with the mapping and location services offered in the rest of the world.
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