ST Microelectronics have announced an agreement with NAVTEQ to collaborate on the development of a novel solution that combines a digital road map with positioning data to enable advanced driver assistance applications, such as curve over-speed warning or adaptive headlight control. Embedded in a small, low-cost module, the Map and Positioning Engine (MPE) is designed to enhance the driver safety and convenience in all vehicles, even when a driver navigation system is not resident.
Because traffic accidents can result from driving too fast when navigating curves, systems capable of warning and aiding the driver in keeping a safe speed becomes important. Knowing the distance to an upcoming curve and the curve’s radius, the ST engine with a NAVTEQ MPE map can enable applications that calculate a maximum speed to safely pass the curve and, if the vehicle’s speed exceeds this limit, warn the driver visually, acoustically, haptically or even reduce the speed automatically.
Similarly, the MPE can enable applications that generate a warning message or prevent acceleration by the adaptive cruise control when the vehicle is in a freeway exit lane, in a speed-limited urban area, or approaching traffic lights over the next hill.
The key elements of the MPE are ST Microelectronics’ GPS technology and the NAVTEQ MPE map containing ADAS road geometry, topology, and additional attributes, such as number of lanes or speed limits. The current vehicle position is matched to upcoming road segments in the map and NAVTEQ’s patented Electronic Horizon technology interprets attributes on the road ahead to deliver essential predictive road information that could warn or aid the driver in advance of a potentially dangerous situation.
The powerful, cost-effective design can be implemented in a small module about the size of a credit card that would operate on the vehicle’s CAN (Controller Area Network) bus or even embedded in another sensor or electronic control unit in the car. Such autonomy will allow developers to deploy critical ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) applications independent of standard vehicle navigation systems.
The ability to provide predictive road information and help both the driver and vehicle better react to current conditions represents a quantum leap in thinking about digital maps and GPS positioning in the car.
Additional enhancements to driver safety that could benefit from the combination of real-time positioning data and the digital map include adaptive headlight control and optimised slope driving. For example, when the vehicle is approaching a curve, the headlights can be turned exactly into the direction the vehicle will go, even before the curve is reached. The slope information can be coupled with the vehicle's powertrain to recognise a particular hill and help the driver choose the appropriate acceleration or gear shift for fuel economy and smooth driving.
The Map and Positioning Engine prototype modules are available from ST Microelectronics.