Mobileye, an Israel-based tech company, is quickly becoming the leader in driver assist and autonomous driving features. The company now boasts that 90% of automakers are using its products, and to leverage its popularity, Mobileye is launching a new mapping technology, which crowdsources real-time data from drivers and it hopes that automakers will share the data to create a constantly updating global digital map to guide self-driving cars in the future.
The company announced the new technology at CES this week with GM already on-board and VW singing a Memorandum of Understanding to explore and integrate the system to its fleet.
Built on top of Mobileye’s own system, Tesla introduced a similar concept in October 2015 while deploying the Autopilot to the Model S. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that Model S owners would now be adding ~1 million miles (now presumably more) of new data every day to help the company create “high precision maps”.
During a press conference, Tesla showed the following slide to illustrate how the Autopilot’s mapping system is improving on regular maps:
Mobileye’s new mapping technology is called Road Experience Management (REM) and it enables crowd-sourced real-time data for precise localization and high-definition lane data with a focus on extremely low bandwidths.
The company says it collects only ~10kb of data per kilometer of driving.
Mobileye Chief Technology Officer Prof. Amnon Shashua commented on the system:
“We leveraged advanced artificial intelligence, used for creating environmental models from camera input, in order to create maps based on local coordinate systems while requiring very low bandwidth. The low bandwidth of the model, and the fact that it requires only a camera, which is already available in most new car models as part of the trend towards growing driver assistance deployment, enables the map creation and update to be managed by a cooperative crowd sourcing mechanism.”
For now, the automakers joining the REM program will have their own maps with separate collections of mapping data generated from their own fleets, but Mobileye hopes for them to eventually share the data and integrate it into a global map services.
GM and Volkswagen are already joining the program and Mobileye says that a third OEM of “comparable size” – meaning not Tesla – is expected to join in 2016.
The company didn’t disclose when it expects the sharing of the data into a global map service to happen, but when and if it does, it is expected to facilitate the implementation of autonomous driving features.