The road map that updates itself
News from Dec. 12, 2019
An always up-to-date, highly accurate digital map is essential for automated, connected driving. In the project “Safari: Digital Test Field Urban Traffic”, Fraunhofer FOKUS and its partners have been developing software over the last two and a half years that detects changes, such as missing signs or new road works, on the road to enable a self-updating, open map of Berlin.
An always up-to-date, highly accurate digital map is essential for automated, networked driving and also provides the basis for location-based services, such as the display of available parking spaces. But how do cities get this data? On behalf of the Berlin Senate Department for Environment, Traffic and Climate Protection, survey vehicles have only been on the road every five years, followed by some effort to transfer this information into the digital map. There are still good reasons to carry out the effort of data collection as a city itself, such as independence from large companies.
In order to make this process more efficient, the Safari project has developed software over the last two and a half years that records changes in the environment and then transfers the update to the Senate Department for Environment, Transport and Climate Protection via the FIS-Broker geoinformation system. Video cameras and laser scanners of the research vehicles record the environment for this purpose. AI algorithms are then used to detect changes such as missing signs or new construction sites. Dr. Ilja Radusch, head of the Smart Mobility business unit at Fraunhofer FOKUS, emphasizes: “Data protection plays a central role for us here. The laser scanner only records point clouds of the surroundings. The data from the cameras is immediately processed in the vehicle and not forwarded. This distinguishes our software from other solutions”.
For the future, it is planned that vehicles such as buses or waste collection are equipped with the appropriate sensors and software to continuously and quasi incidentally detect and transmit changes on the road.
The project has developed additional services for traffic management, such as the display of free parking spaces or the warning of construction sites set up at short notice, and these have been tested in the Berlin-Reinickendorf test field.
The safari project was managed by the Senate Department for Environment, Transport and Climate Protection. In addition to Fraunhofer FOKUS and DCAITI, the partners included the Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Businesses, the Free University of Berlin, the companies IAV and HELLA Aglaia Mobile Vision, and Deutsche Telekom as an associated partner. The project was funded with 4.3 million euros by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure BMVI as part of the funding guideline “Automated and Networked Driving on Digital Test Fields in Germany”.