Invented by Andrew Hughes Chatham, Waymo LLC
The Waymo LLC invention works as followsAspects” of the disclosure are related to general systems and methods of assessing map validity using image data captured by a sensor laser along a vehicle’s path. The method can compile the image data from the laser sensor. The map under assessment can define an area that is prohibited from entry by vehicles.
Background for Map reports from vehicles on the field
Autonomous cars use various computing systems in order to transport passengers from one place to another. Some autonomous vehicles require an initial or continuous input by an operator such as a driver, pilot or passenger. Some systems, like autopilot systems may only be used when the system is engaged. This allows the operator to switch between a manual mode, where the driver has a great deal of control, and an autonomous mode, where the vehicle drives itself.
The autonomous vehicle, especially in autonomous mode, may rely heavily on maps to navigate the vehicle. The maps used by autonomous vehicles could be inaccurate or out-of-date due to changes in the landscape, construction or accidents.
When there is a suspicion about the accuracy of a map, it may be necessary to create a blocked area or zone on the map that prevents the autonomous vehicles from entering the map in autonomous mode.
One aspect of this disclosure is a method of assessing the validity of a mapping. A laser sensor may be used to receive image data. Image data can be collected along the vehicle path, and then compiled into a first picture. A map relating to the vehicle route may be identified, compared to the first picture, and the validity of the map assessed based on this comparison. In one example, the result of the evaluation may be communicated to a server through a network. Maps may contain an area that is off limits to vehicles.
Another aspect of the disclosure is a method of assessing the validity of a road map. The method includes determining multiple locations of a car along a route. The locations can be used to determine a trajectory of the vehicle and compare it with the map. A validity of the map can be determined by the comparison.
In one example, a method could include determining whether the map contains a plausible trajectory that is consistent with the trajectory. A signal may be sent to a server when the map doesn’t include a plausible trajectory consistent with the path. If the map contains a plausible trajectory that is consistent with the map, a message can be sent to the server informing them of the validity of the map.
The disclosure also provides a method to assess the validity of a mapping. This method includes receiving a compressed picture describing the vehicle path in an area, reconstructing this compressed image into a first map, identifying the map that is related to the area and displaying the image of the first map. The compressed image can be derived, for example, from the image data captured by a laser sensor.
Another aspect” of the disclosure is a system to assess validity of a mapping. The system can include a processor and at least one of the following: a Global Positioning System, a Laser Sensor, or a Camera. A map of a vehicle’s path may be stored in a memory, along with data and instructions that can be executed by the processor. When the data and instructions are executed by the processor they can determine multiple locations along the path of the vehicle and a trajectory based on those locations. The map and the trajectory can be compared, and the validity of the map assessed. The system could, for example, include a modem that transmits the result of the assessment.
Another aspect of the disclosure is a method of validating a map in which the current location of a car is determined. The method can include determining whether the map has a plausible location that is consistent with the location of the vehicle. The validity of the map can be evaluated based on this determination.
For simplicity and clarity, similar reference numbers may be used to identify structural elements that are identical or analogous.
Flowcharts can be used to illustrate the processes, operations, or methods performed by components or devices or parts or systems or apparatuses described herein. The flowcharts serve as exemplary illustrations for the steps that are performed in various processes, methods or operations. The flowcharts do not necessarily show the exact order in which steps should be completed. Different steps can be performed simultaneously or in a different order than that shown. The flowcharts can also have steps omitted or added, unless stated otherwise.
FIG. The figure 1 shows an environment 100 where embodiments of the invention can be used. It includes an autonomous vehicle, a server, and a communication network that allows direct or indirect communications between the server and the autonomous vehicle. “A user 140 can interact with the autonomous car 110 through the server 120.
The network 130 may be, e.g., a wireless network, such as the Global System for Mobile Communications/General Packet Radio service (GSM/GPRS), Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA), Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution (EDGE), Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS), or a broadband network such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi (the brand name for products using IEEE 802.11 standards). A Service Set Identifier, or SSID, is used to identify the network 130. This is the key for wireless devices to access the network. The network 130 is made up of nodes, such as the vehicle 120 or server 120. “Each node of the network 130 can be uniquely identified using a Media Access Control Address (MAC address).
It’s understood that the invention isn’t limited to the types of networks and components shown in the illustration of FIG. Other network types and components can also be used. The network 130 may include more than one autonomous car 110, each of which may have a unique MAC Address. In the same way, multiple servers 120 can be included in network 130. The servers may operate independently or collaborate with one another.
A server may have a processor, and a memory” (not shown). The server 120 can store information that is relevant to the navigation system of the vehicle 110 in its memory. These information can include maps, traffic patterns and road conditions. The server 120 can receive information from the vehicle 110 relating to any or all of the following: traffic patterns, map updates and map corrections. The information received by the server 120 can be stored in its memory. The server 120 can, in some cases, distribute the information received to other vehicles 110 through the network 130.
The definition of a vehicle is “any type of vehicle, including but not limited to cars, trucks and motorcycles. It also includes boats, aircraft, helicopters, lawnmowers as well as recreational vehicles, amusement parks vehicles, construction equipment, farm machinery, trams, golf trolleys, trains and trolleys.
FIG. The block diagram 2 illustrates hardware configurations for the vehicle 110 according to one aspect of this disclosure. The vehicle 110 can include any or all of the following: a GPS sensor 166; a Global Positioning System sensor (GPS); a GPS sensor 162; a GPS sensor 164; a GPS sensor 162 sensor, a camera 164 sensor, and a GPS sensor 162 sensor. The components can be connected operatively via electrical or physical coupling. These components can transmit or receive executable signals in analog/digital format to or from another component or components. In certain aspects, some of these components can also send or receive communications from or to the server 120 through the network 130. Below are details about each component.
The processor can be any conventional processor such as those from Intel Corporation or Advanced Micro Devices. The processor 150 can also be a dedicated device, such as an ASIC (applicant-specific integrated chip). The processor 150 can refer to a group of processors, which may or may not be operating in parallel. In one aspect, a vehicle 110 may be equipped with a single processor to perform the acts described in this document. The vehicle 110 may also have one or more autonomous components 170 that each have their processors executing instructions unique to them.
In some cases, the processor 150 is physically mounted inside the vehicle 110. In other cases, the processor 150 is physically located outside the vehicle 110. It communicates with the vehicle via the network 130. One or more processors of the collection are mounted physically within the vehicle 110. The remaining processors communicate with the vehicle via the network 130.
The memory 152 can be a volatile or non-volatile storage, or even a combination of both. The volatile memory can include a RAM such as dynamic random access memories (DRAM) and static random access memories (SRAM), but it could also be any other form of alterable memory which is electrically erased or reprogrammed. Non-volatile memories may include a RAM, a programmable logic array, or any other form of non-alterable, non-destructible memory that cannot be altered, or which can only be modified slowly or with difficulty.
The cellular-modem 154 can include a receiver and transmitter. The modem can receive and transmit data via the network. The modem can connect the vehicle to other nodes of the network 130. For example, the server or other vehicles. The modem may send information to the server 120, such as maps, traffic information, and road conditions. The modem 154 can also communicate with roadside sensors such as laser sensors or traffic cameras.Click here to view the patent on Google Patents.