If Toyota has its way they will be turning your car into a mobile mapping system. This is not the first time I have seen this model proposed. The basic idea is to use the sensors on the car to continuously update a central, 3D highway database stored in the cloud. In theory this data could be used for car navigation, asset management, real time traffic updates and more.
“Due to the infrequent nature of 3D lidar data collection, maps generated in this manner are seldom updated, limiting their usefulness,” Toyota argues. “Additionally, this represents a relatively cost-intensive method of gathering data, due to the need to manually input specific types of data.”
Toyota’s alternative trades individual accuracy in each gathering vehicle in favor of affordability and scale. Rather than just a few cars each equipped with a LIDAR, Toyota’s approach would repurpose the GPS and cameras – in many cases already fitted to its models for things like adaptive cruise control and navigation – to gather data about each road.
Working in Toyota’s favor would be real-time processing, with every connected car from the manufacturer that’s out on the road automatically feeding back fresh data to further educate the mapping algorithms.
The new system will go on display at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2016 in Las Vegas, which will run from January 6 through 9.