Vodafone Germany and HERE Technologies have entered into a strategic partnership focused on services for autonomous vehicles and smart cities. The companies signed a preliminary agreement CES 2018 in Las Vegas in which the companies outlined several collaborative initiatives that take advantage of increased vehicle connectivity, low latency cellular networks and real-time, highly-accurate location services.
A key area of focus will be on the network infrastructure needed for autonomous vehicles to operate safely and efficiently. The companies intend to test HD Live Map, HERE’s machine readable map for autonomous cars, at the Aldenhoven Testing Center in Germany. Vodafone Germany operates a 5G Mobility Lab at the facility, which is one of the most advanced developments and testing environments for autonomous vehicles and will be among the first places in Europe where people can see 5G network technology in action.
Vehicle connectivity will be a critical component of autonomous driving. HD Live Map is being developed to ‘self-heal’, meaning it can reflect dynamic changes in the road environment and update itself automatically in near real-time. Such a map enables vehicles to proactively adjust to changing road conditions – for example, switching lanes and adjusting speed ahead of time in the case of an upcoming lane closure. For this to happen effectively, the data vehicles send and receive over networks will need to flow quickly and seamlessly.
Services for today’s connected cars
HD Live Map is among several services being built on the HERE Open Location Platform, a new development environment for location-centric products and services. Vodafone Germany, which currently utilizes map data from HERE, is now exploring how other services powered by the Open Location Platform could be integrated into Vodafone Germany’s automotive offering. This could include HERE Real-Time Traffic and HERE Safety Services, which utilize data emitting from a vehicle’s on-board sensors, such as hazard lights, fog lights, camera, emergency brakes and electronic stability control to build a picture of the road network in near real-time. By end-2019, these services will be aggregating data from tens of millions of cars worldwide, returning to drivers and passengers valuable information about potential road hazards, accidents, and bad weather.
Smart waste management and more
Finally, Vodafone Germany and HERE plan to extend their collaboration to services for smart cities. The companies are already identifying potential opportunities to integrate HERE location services within Vodafone Germany’s IoT offering. One is in the area of on-demand and automated waste management. This would take into account factors including traffic, fuel consumption, and every city’s unique infrastructure. The two companies have been demonstrating the possibilities at the HERE Technologies booth at CES 2018 this week.
The companies also see opportunities to offer integrated solutions in a range of other areas, including connected parking, lighting and mobility.