CES 2023: Here Technologies launches new, highly automated mapping

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Here Technologies is using CES 2023 in Las Vegas this week (January 5-8) to introduces UniMap – an automated system that is set to revolutionize how maps are created, updated and used, enabling rapid creation of digital maps and location products.

At the heart of the Here platform, the technology will produce the entire Here map as well as enable customers to rapidly create their own private maps and customized location services.

Here has been developing the technology over the last three years in close collaboration with automotive groups including BMW Group. Primed for a rollout to selected customers in 2023 ahead of coming fully online for all Here customers by 2024, UniMap is designed to deliver unmatched levels of map freshness, quality and coverage.

“Ever since we started out mapping California in the mid-1980s, we’ve been seeking to shrink the time it takes to detect a real-world change, reflect it in the map and get it into the hands of our customers,” says Giovanni Lanfranchi, senior vice president and chief product and technology officer, Here Technologies. “The turnaround time in our industry has typically been measured in months. With UniMap, we provide anytime access to a unified map that’s refreshed in hours, minutes or seconds. This is a big leap forward for anyone building applications that use location data.”

UniMap automates map data processing and map creation wherever possible and logical. For example, UniMap uses AI models to automate the processing of 500 million kilometers of vehicle probe and sensor data every hour, to extract map features such as 2D and 3D positioning of road signs, to validate speed limits and to build missing road geometry.

It is also able to conflate multiple types of data, by transforming data from a wide variety of sources into map content. Sources range from vehicle cameras and lidar to overhead imagery and IoT data.

UniMap aligns all standard definition (SD), high definition (HD) and Advanced Driver-Assistance System (ADAS) data into one single semantically consistent digital representation of reality; in a first for the industry, Here is offering seamless access to a unified catalogue of the data needed for navigation, automated driving and intelligent speed assistance (ISA). Different data types are aligned thanks to Map Object Model, an extendible unified map content data model.

It enables changes detected in the physical reality to become visible in the map within 24 hours. Stores all data in a single environment, readily accessible for customers 24/7, and enables customers to combine and connect data sets.

“With UniMap, the world is moving into a new era of mapmaking,” says Here Technologies CEO Edzard Overbeek. “We look forward to extending the benefits of UniMap to all our customers in automated transportation, smart logistics, urban mobility and beyond.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).