How we use swarm data to enhance ADAS and automated driving functions
The new Volkswagen ID. Buzz features a range of driver assistance systems, including Travel Assist, developed by CARIAD. We explain how this function, supported by invaluable swarm data, takes us one step closer to highly automated driving.
As part of the Volkswagen Group, we at CARIAD have access to one of the world’s largest vehicle fleets. This offers the potential for enormous added value and innovation through swarm data intelligence.
Generated by the sensors, radar, lidar and cameras of several hundred thousand Volkswagen Group vehicles, swarm data comprises information about the vehicle itself, as well as its surroundings and the road conditions. This includes information on a comfortable and appropriate driving speed when approaching a particular turn in the road, or the availability of vehicle functions at a specific location. The data is stored in a cloud database and allows for the creation of very precise, high-definition maps, which extend beyond the capability of standard maps and traditional sensors. Our vehicles can continuously pull the data out of the cloud to enable advanced driver assistance, support vehicle functions and improve the overall driver experience – primarily in the areas of comfort and safety.
Automated driving in a variety of environments
You can already experience the great comfort and safety benefits of swarm data in the new Volkswagen ID. Buzz. Launched earlier this year, the vehicle features advanced driving assistance functions such as the optionally available Travel Assist with swarm data, which was developed by CARIAD.
Travel Assist can keep the vehicle in lane, maintain a distance from the vehicle in front and ensure that the vehicle keeps to a maximum speed set by the driver. The system actively keeps the vehicle in the middle of its lane, but can also adapt itself to the driver’s driving style. By keeping the vehicle in the left or right half of the lane instead of exactly in the centre, it offers a more natural driving experience. Travel Assist comes with predictive cruise control and a cornering assist function, which adapt the vehicle speed to speed limits and the course of the road, including bends and roundabouts. When driving on highways at speeds above 90 km/h, Travel Assist can actively support lane changes. To do so, the sensors must not have detect any objects around the vehicle and the steering wheel must be able to detect the driver’s hands.
Swarm data is what takes Travel Assist to the next level. Until now, lane-keeping technology has only been able to detect well-marked lanes, signage and other infrastructure. These are typical features of roads such as highways, which have a simpler structure and greater standardization, and are therefore generally easier for the car to understand than other environments. Urban, inner-city driving, on the other hand, is extremely complex and, in the case of rural roads, there can be so little infrastructure that the modern car has no means of guidance at all.
However, with the great potential offered by swarm data and functions like Travel Assist, we can bring automated driving functions to environments with more complicated or even minimal infrastructure. The assistance system can use just one identified road lane marking to keep the vehicle in lane. This means that it’s available on country roads without a central lane marking, for example. And with the vast and growing number of participating vehicles in the Volkswagen Group fleet, the data is growing all the time. We therefore have the ability to effectively scale this technology and continuously improve driving assistance functions.