Automotive and mapping companies move toward global vehicle-to-cloud data standard

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A partnership of automotive and mapping companies has taken a significant step forward in its efforts to drive a global standard for vehicle-to-cloud data, a move that will accelerate the development and introduction of connected and automated vehicles worldwide.

Following successful months-long discussions with international automotive and mapping companies in Europe, the USA and Asia, the cloud-based location and navigation company Here has now submitted the design for a universal data format called SENSORIS (Sensor Ingestion Interface Specification) to ERTICO – ITS Europe, which has agreed to continue as an Innovation Platform to evolve it into a standardized interface specification for use broadly across the automotive industry. Here, which is backed by a consortium of leading automotive companies, initiated SENSORIS in June 2015 when it published the first open specification for how vehicle sensor data gathered by connected cars could be sent to the cloud for processing and analysis. Currently, vehicle sensor data exists in multiple different formats across auto makers.

More than 10 major automotive and supplier companies have already joined the SENSORIS Innovation Platform that is now under the coordination of ERTICO, including Aisin AW, Robert Bosch, Continental, Daimler, Elektrobit, Harman, Here, NavInfo, Pioneer and TomTom. More organizations are expected to join in the coming weeks. As the instigator of the program, Here believes that pooling analogous vehicle data from millions of vehicles will be a key enabler for highly and fully automated driving, ensuring that each vehicle has a near real-time view of road conditions and hazards that can lead to better driving decisions. The company is developing the required location cloud technology that can detect and process changes in the real-world as they happen, including on roads in dozens of countries, on an industrial scale and at high quality. Here is putting this infrastructure in place ahead of anticipated new streams of vehicle sensor data that it will be processing in its location platform in the future.

“Our goal was always to find a home for this specification that is open, accessible to all, and global. This is a vital step along the path to creating a shared information network for safer roads,” said Dietmar Rabel, head of autonomous driving product management at Here. “If a car around the next corner hits the brakes because there’s an obstruction, that information could be used to signal to the drivers behind to slow down ahead of time, resulting in smoother, more efficient journeys, and a lower risk of accidents. But that can only work if all cars can speak and understand the same language.”

Hermann Meyer, CEO of ERTICO-ITS Europe, commented, “Defining a standardized interface for exchanging information between the in-vehicle sensors and a dedicated cloud, as well as between clouds, will enable broad access, delivery and processing of vehicle sensor data; enable easy exchange of vehicle sensor data between all players; and finally enable enriched location based services, which are key for mobility services, as well as for automated driving.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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