Modern cars are equipped with assistance systems to increase comfort, economy and safety, enabling semi-autonomous systems today and fully autonomous systems in the future. These systems usually get input from sensors that observe the car’s environment. However, all sensors are limited in terms of their sensing range and viewing angle. The environment behind other objects, as well as further away than a few meters, is commonly not visible.
Therefore, there is a need to provide an additional sensor that sees beyond the corners, which is the map. The industry term for this “map as a sensor” is the so-called Electronic Horizon, which represents the road network and the map attributes ahead of the vehicle. This can range, depending on the use case, from a few hundred meters to many kilometres.
Pulling in map data and road event data from the cloud, the HERE Electronic Horizon creates a simplified representation of the road ahead – with a range of a few hundred meters to several kilometres. It then feeds that model of the road to the vehicle’s advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) which will optimise the performance of the engine and safety systems to best suit upcoming events. A downwards slope might lead the motor to slow down in advance of the dip, for example, or automated headlights might begin to move into a curve before the car itself needs to turn.
These automated systems can save fuel and make driving safer by anticipating future events. ADAS functions that can benefit from the Electronic Horizon include predictive powertrain control for maximising fuel efficiency, adaptive cruise control, adaptive lighting, lane assistance and object recognition.
The HERE Electronic Horizon can easily be connected to the HERE HD Live Map cloud service, to add a range of high definition map data such more precise distance calculations, lane markings, along with road event data to help vehicles most effectively position themselves and know how to manoeuvre on the road.
If the vehicle loses internet connectivity, there’s no need to worry. The system caches map information, allowing radio ‘not-spots’ to be driven through without interruptions to the service.
The HERE Electronic Horizon benefits both highly automated and fully autonomous vehicles. Multiple automakers are already utilizing HERE Electronic Horizon in vehicle tests and pre-production vehicles, with HERE expecting it to be brought to production vehicles in 2017.
With the introduction of Electronic Horizon, HERE now offers a full location technology stack for the car that makes development easier and faster for automakers, and allows them to create the technology needed by today’s cars as well as tomorrow’s. The HERE Electronic Horizon is expected to be the first such software to become available that supports the forthcoming ADASIS version 3 specification.
The Electronic Horizon will prove an important leverage point for encouraging trust in automated car systems. This new piece of software helps build that trust by telling the car what lies ahead so it can drive better on its own. By combining this new software with HERE content and services, automakers can now deploy a complete and future-proof location solution for the car and do so fast.
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