UK stakes claim for lead role in autonomous mapping

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A new report has outlined how the UK could take a leading role in the mapping, data and regulatory systems that will underpin autonomous vehicles.


Published by Zenzic, the UK’s umbrella organisation for self-driving technology, and national mapping agency Ordnance Survey, the Geodata Report makes the case for common global data and mapping standards across the emerging autonomous sector. It recommends maps with resolution better than 5cm to ensure vehicles can operate in complex environments, including data on curbs, street-level features like lampposts, pedestrian crossings and road markings. Real-time updates on temporary objects such as skips and roadworks should also be a target.

“The UK’s goal is to be able to benefit from self-driving vehicles on our roads at scale by 2030, a target that requires the development of technologies and tools which do not fully exist today,” said Zenzic CEO, Daniel Ruiz.

“Our report with Ordnance Survey is another stake in the ground for the UK as a leader in the self-driving revolution and shows how the UK is building on its expertise in areas like mapping to drive the world forward.”

According to the report’s publishers, there is currently so single source of high-quality mapping data, with individual companies in the autonomous space each developing their own. By pooling resources and working towards accepted global standards, innovation in the sector could be accelerated. Ordnance Survey says that a neutrally hosted platform with data from multiple sources – but with common standards – would allow self-driving cars from different manufacturers and countries to co-exist on the same roads.

“The economic and societal benefits that can be achieved through the introduction of self-driving vehicles on UK roads should be significant,” said Ordnance Survey’s head of Innovation Programmes, Simon Navin.

“Through our work with Zenzic we are helping define the geospatial and mapping requirements that will accelerate the testing and adoption of self-driving technologies so that these benefits can be realised safely and efficiently. As Great Britain’s national mapping agency, we believe that consistent, authoritative and trusted data provides a framework for safe operation, interoperability and open standards development. It will also enable innovative solutions from a wide range of providers who will bring new and exciting solutions to the UK mobility sector”.