Albert Einstein once said that you can't use an old map to explore a new world. Maps and localization are becoming an increasingly important part of the automotive industry’s push towards autonomous driving. Accurate localization allows vehicles to respond in a more predictive manner, operate in bad conditions and safely stop in cases of emergency.
In this insight we analyze how the growing importance of localization is leading to an influx of new players (e.g. chipset suppliers like Nvidia) as well as more M&A (e.g. Bosch’s acquisition of Atlatec). We also explore which use cases are generating buzz and what this means for car makers that are questioning the role they themselves should be playing within the localization eco-system.
What is happening?
The ecosystem of companies developing localization services continues to grow in response to
increased momentum towards L2/L3/L4 driving automation.
New players outside of the automotive industry such as tech giants and consumer electronics developers have entered the space.
Traditional suppliers too are acquiring and integrating new map-related expertise to improve their ADAS and AV offerings.
Maps have become a shared memory that is referenced by localization systems to calculate position match.
Different sensors are integrated to balance robustness and affordability. Cameras, radar and lidar contribute to improved localization and provide redundancy and versatility for better safety and advanced autonomous driving.
Why does it matter?
The localization data & maps market is forecast to reach over $650 million by 2027, driven primarily by rapidly growing sales of L2/L3-enabled vehicles. SBD has identified over 20 use cases for in-vehicle localization that support safety, convenience and autonomous driving.
Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) has become mandated in Europe and hands-free active driving assistance (SAE Level 2) is increasingly being pushed by OEMs – both these features benefit from localization.
Known position allows vehicles to respond in a more predictable manner and improve safety in emergency situations, and in combination with maps allows operation in difficult weather.
The raised awareness of the importance of localization is attracting more players to localization, including OEMs that want to do it themselves.
As the complexity of advanced localization techniques increases, it will be key for OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers to avoid vendor lock-in. They will have to either develop inhouse capabilities (at least partially) or choose localization/mapping partners and architecture wisely.
Mobile wireless networks will offer 5G technology to offer localization without expensive additional sensors.
OEMs will steward vast amounts of data collected from their customer vehicles, which gives best value when used in collaborative crowdsourcing.
New technology has increased the effectiveness of the global satellite constellation, as has the number, increasing from around 29 GPS, up to around 94 with multi-country GNSS. Longer-term, Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) will bring thousands of satellites for autonomous driving and general positioning.
Standardization of electronic horizon interface through ADASIS has laid groundwork for first production use cases.
Strategic acquisitions by OSMs and suppliers continue as new localization technologies are developed. Premium and volume vehicle development push for better tech as well as more use cases.
Data collection scales up, enabling ADAS to behave more naturally in new use cases. Big tech will explore new options to commercialize data collected from cars and phones.
High-accuracy localization for freight trucks and robotaxis will spread to larger areas and fleets
Who to watch out for?
Following the 2021 acquisition of Deep Map, Nvidia is offering DRIVE Map for AV and volume production deployment of SAE Level 2 handsfree & Level 3 ADAS.
By acquiring Atlatec, Bosch has gained the capability to build HD maps, complementing the existing radar crowdsourcing with TomTom.
HERE has expanded the flexibility of its offering to include lidar point clouds and tools to allow OEMs to make their own map collections.
Woven Planet is at a crossroads. If agility is maintained, the Automated Mapping Platform could expand and mature. If internal stakeholders focus only on research, proof of concepts may not mature to widespread products.
Companies like Apple may bring big data expertise to provide alternative localization methods. Vehicle sensors may be augmented or replaced by phones and edge computing.
How should you react?
Cut through the buzz around localization by identifying use cases fitting strategic vision and providing commercial value while considering the accuracy of position technology.
Evaluate use cases to specific regions and products, considering implications in the technology selection, such as cost, data use, computation complexity, and fit to broader perception strategy.
Ecosystem choices and system architecture will be driven by location technology expertise of associated sensor, data, and software partners.
Interested in finding out more?
Most of our work is helping clients go deeper into new challenges and opportunities through custom projects. If you would like to discuss recent projects we've completed relating to maps or localization, contact us today!
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