DETROIT -- Michigan Department of Transportation Director Kirk Steudle knows the importance of an accurate map.
While Steudle traversed the rural roads of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on his way to an airport, his confused GPS system had other plans as he ended up in someone’s driveway.
Steudle then mentioned another case where someone’s GPS led them into a pond.
Steudle shared these mishaps to highlight one of the critical issues facing autonomous vehicles: They’ll need precise mapping to lead them.
Although it’s unlikely that GPS would lose its bearings on highly traveled interstate highways, Steudle said up-to-date data is especially crucial in rural areas.
Steudle spoke during an Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress panel in Detroit.
The development of the digital road infrastructure, a static and dynamic representation of the physical world, will determine how autonomous vehicles get around.
Maxime Flament, head of sector for SafeMobility at ERTICO-ITS Europe, said the sourcing, processing and maintenance of mapping data in this digital space will need to be standardized. ERTICO is “a network of Intelligent Transport Systems and Services stakeholders in Europe,” according to its website.
Flament said infrastructure changes can have an impact on safety and will need to be planned and shared digitally as they happen.
Flament called for the creation of digital infrastructure framework between public authorities and map providers that lays out their responsibilities.
Steudle, speaking on a similar point, asked, “Who is responsible for providing this infrastructure? Is it the government’s responsibility? Is it the car manufacturer’s responsibility? Is it the technology company?”
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