Volkswagen and Mobileye team to help autonomous cars ‘see’ via crowdsourcing

Volkswagen and Mobileye have signed an agreement to see Mobileye’s Road Experience Management (REM) mapping service integrated into VW-brand vehicles starting in 2018. The service from provider Mobileye crowdsources real-time road condition reports from vehicles equipped with the product to help provide intelligent fleet features for use in autonomous vehicles, making sure networked smart cars can better navigate real roads.

Cars equipped with REM can track info from front-facing cameras, including lane markings and other road info, and then send that data to the cloud, where it’s collected and fed back into HD navigation maps to make sure those reflect conditions as accurately as possible at all times. Mobileye and Volkswagen intend for this agreement to pave the way for industry-wide collaboration on the REM platform, which would build HD maps using crowdsourced data from the cars of a range of manufacturers, and then help improve the autonomous driving and advanced driver assist features of all those involved.

The new agreement means that Volkswagen models will begin incorporating the REM system in new models in 2018, which will result in anonymized data gathering that can provide insight not only into road conditions, but also into parking space ability and traffic and congestion information.

I actually got the chance to experience Mobileye’s REM system working in Las Vegas at CES during my test drive of Delphi’s autonomous driving system, and the results were impressive, though it’s obviously hard to identify any one component of the system as responsible for its overall proficiency. Still, the concept of ‘smart swarms’ of intelligent, connected cars working in concert is picking up steam, and could be a huge component of our self-driving future.