Toyota, Carmera Use Dashboard-mounted Cameras to Detect Road Features

Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development Inc. and road intelligence partner Carmera Inc. have announced they are using commercially available dashboard-mounted cameras to detect key road features along Michigan roadways in central Detroit and Ann Arbor.
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Toyota and Carmera road mapping
Carmera and TRI-AD’s latest mapping initiative in Michigan shows suburban road feature placement (left) and urban street-level object detection (right) developed from Toyota TransLog telematics cameras. // Photo courtesy of TRI-AD

Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development Inc. and road intelligence partner Carmera Inc. have announced they are using commercially available dashboard-mounted cameras to detect key road features along Michigan roadways in central Detroit and Ann Arbor.

The goal of the program is to provide the relative accuracy performance necessary for automated driving.

Carmera and Toyota, which has a technical center in Plymouth and a research and development facility in Ann Arbor, used Carmera’s machine learning, computer vision, and geospatial technologies to detect and place road features such as lane markings, traffic signals, and signs. This was a follow up to the companies’ camera-based mapping work in Tokyo.

The companies say these results validate TRI-AD and Carmera’s vision to use street-level cameras from production vehicles, as well as aftermarket telematics systems, to produce comprehensive, accurate mapping data for both horizontal and vertically positioned roadway features.

“Our work together demonstrates the power of developing systems that are built to take advantage of the ubiquity — and understand the constraints — of automotive technology widely in use today,” says Ro Gupta, CEO of Carmera. “It shows that with the right approach, companies like TRI-AD can start building the data necessary for automated driving, without having to rely on expensive or proprietary third-party hardware. TRI-AD is embracing its leadership position here, and we’re proud to help accelerate this pursuit.”

The initiative between the two companies used the same technology that powers Carmera’s Real-Time Events and Change Management engine, which detects, validates, and delivers navigation-critical updates to Carmera’s regenerative high-definition mapping system in minutes rather than months. Hardware-agnostic, yet anchored to “ground truth,” the technology unlocks the potential of lower cost sensors and the vast array of existing vehicle probes to help maintain HD maps everywhere.

“Carmera’s approach has made them a valued partner for our mission,” says Mandali Khalesi, vice president of automated driving strategy and mapping at TRI-AD. “Through the use of production vehicle cameras, we have explored the range of widely available sensor inputs we can draw from, as we look to give automated vehicles around the world a deeper, more accurate understanding of their environments, for a safer driving experience for all.”

The companies say they expect to continue their work each continues to expand their respective technology, partnership, and data platforms.

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