In a rare display of German automaker camaraderie, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz will contribute data from millions of vehicles to build a fancy, real-time traffic map service.
Amsterdam-based mapping service HERE—owned by the three car companies—launched the service to 60 countries on Wednesday. Though many live traffic feeds pull data from individual car companies, HERE claims it’s the first to aggregate vehicle sensor data from competing car brands.
Though using vehicle sensor data helps give out more precise and timely traffic condition, the underlying goal here is to aid the development of, you guessed it, driverless cars.
“Autonomous cars need to be able to see all around them if they are to navigate the streets safely and efficiently,” HERE CEO Edzard Overbeek said in a blog post.
Vehicle sensors are developing rapidly. Cars can now communicate information to other cars and to infrastructure on the road to help not only with traffic, but to warn drivers about inclement weather and predict hazardous behavior.
But sensor communication has it’s drawbacks. Since the car communication occurs over radio networks, experts say it’s easier to get driver information and hack the vehicle.
The future is coming.