New radar sensors are 'milestone' towards autonomous cars


TomTom and Bosch have created an HD map with integrated ‘Radar Road Signature’ that could allow automated vehicles to determine their exact location down to a few centimetres.

Navigation and mapping firm TomTom said the advantage of the Bosch Radar Road Signature map is that it can be reliably used at night and in conditions of poor visibility, unlike maps that rely exclusively on video data for vehicle localisation.

Bosch already uses radar in driver assistance systems

It said the technology only needs to transmit five kilobytes of data to a cloud per kilometre, which is half the bandwidth necessary for video-based mapping.

Bosch board of management member, Dr Dirk Hoheisel said: ‘The Radar Road Signature is a milestone on the path towards automated driving. It will enable automated vehicles to reliably determine their location at all times.’

TomTom CEO Harold Goddijn said: ‘We’ve been working hard to create the HD Map needed for autonomous driving, including localisation attributes such as TomTom’s RoadDNA. It’s exciting to be launching this additional localisation layer with Bosch in the form of the Radar Road Signature – that greatly increases the robustness of localisation under all circumstances.'

The two firms have been working on the radar map and its integration into the high-resolution overall map for nearly two years.

Bosch radar sensors use 77-gigahertz technology and have detection ranges of up to 250 metres, which compares with a detection range of 50 metres for video sensors.

Existing radar sensors had to be adapted to generate the radar signature map as they needed to detect static objects, and sensors used in a driver assistance system such as automatic emergency braking systems or adaptive cruise control detect moving objects.

Bosch wants to launch the Radar Road Signature in Europe and the US by 2020.

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