Vehicle sensor data must be in common format, industry forum concludes

A common interface format for sensor data is a critical next step for autonomous vehicle development, according to participants at a recent industry forum.

Nokia-owned company HERE, which specialises in mapping, navigation and location experiences, recently brought together a diverse group of automotive companies, system vendors and suppliers to discuss specifications for the transmission of in-vehicle sensor data.

Participants at the event in Berlin, Germany, agreed that the industry must define a format in which vehicle sensor data is delivered. They also discussed a range of technical issues, including data content, security, anonymisation, and transmission accuracy and efficiency based on ingestion interface specifications recently published by HERE.

As HERE points out, modern vehicles collect vast amounts of information on road and traffic conditions through onboard sensors, and this can be utilized to improve the safety and experience of nearby drivers. For example, it can feed into real-time map updates and alerts on traffic or hazardous conditions ahead.

But if vehicles transmit sensor data in different formats, the ability for a cloud to efficiently aggregate and analyse such data at scale is lost and the benefits to drivers are reduced.

The ability to transmit in real-time sensor data across different vehicles on the road requires deep industry-wide collaboration, commented Dietmar Rabel, head of product management for the automated driving programme at HERE. But when we do, the result should be fewer accidents and more efficient journeys, as well as moving the industry closer to its aspiration for cars that can fully understand their environment and drive themselves.

Standardisation should speed up the development of connected car applications. The potential efficiencies are huge. But, stakeholders need to respect the competition framework for developing industry standards. The European Parliament called for the development of open and interoperable formats when it discussed the eCall Regulation.

Thomas Funke, Partner

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