Toyota’s self-driving car mapping system could be a game changer

Until then, it’s why we see companies like Waymo and Cruise Automation only carry out tests within certain areas with geo-fenced portions of a city. These roads are what the self-driving car knows exclusively, thanks to HD mapping. But Toyota may be on the verge of a breakthrough when it comes to the daunting task.

The automaker said on Tuesday its automated driving software development company, TRI-AD, successfully complete proof-of-concepts after creating HD maps from commercial satellites. That’s a lot to digest, so let’s break it down.

Today, automakers and companies map roads physically with costly cameras and software attached to vehicles. Then, the data’s cleaned up and fed to self-driving car software so it knows the roads well enough. Controlling a satellite to map roads is, obviously, a simpler process.