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HERE Technologies Develops New Map Data That Includes Cell Signal Strength for Connected Cars

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【Summary】Mapping company HERE Technologies​ has partnered with Continual, a leading provider of connected car and subscriber analytics to developed a new map data set called HERE Cellular Signals, which includes the strength of cellular networks around the world. To create HERE Cellular Signals, HERE fused its global radio (cellular) map with its leading GPS map of the road network.

FutureCar Staff    Feb 20, 2019 1:27 PM PT
HERE Technologies Develops New Map Data That Includes Cell Signal Strength for Connected Cars

The connected or autonomous cars of the future will rely on HD maps for navigation and will essentially become internet connected devices on wheels, connecting to infrastructure (V2I), e-commerce platforms, as well as to other vehicles (V2V). To achieve this, connected vehicles will require always-on connectivity to the cloud.

To address this need, mapping company HERE Technologies has partnered with Continual, a leading provider of connected car and subscriber analytics to developed a new map data set called HERE Cellular Signals, which includes the strength of cellular networks around the world. In-vehicle systems for connected cars, including GPS and other cloud-based technology, will rely upon the signal strength of 4G or 5G networks to support the transfer data to and from a vehicle.

"As 5G networks and always-online automated vehicles edge closer to reality, we're seeing growing convergence between the mobile telecom and automotive markets," said Michiel Verberg, Senior Manager Strategic Partners, HERE Technologies.

To create HERE Cellular Signals, HERE fused its global radio (cellular) map with its leading GPS map of the road network.

The map data set that provides up-to-date information about mobile network performance on roads worldwide in 196 countries. HERE Cellular Signals provides a snapshot of network coverage in real-time and identifies each carrier's signal strength and network type.

Signal strength is represented on the map as excellent, good, fair or poor. This information can help cellular providers monitor the performance of their own networks and identify coverage areas of relative strength and weakness, and make more informed network planning decisions.

"Predicting the available signal and bandwidth at a given location is a key part of enabling connected vehicles," said Aaron Mayfield, Senior Product Manager at HERE Technologies. "With the emergence of 5G, a new generation of connected services will be developed, making the mapping of available bandwidths even more crucial."

Related image

A HERE Technologies mapping vehicle

For its cellular map, HERE processes aggregated cell and Wi-Fi traces and GPS coordinates from more than 250 million connected devices globally that utilize HERE network positioning technology. HERE crowd-sources this information from drivers who share their vehicle's data. Included in this data are traces from 107 million cells and 3 billion Wi-Fi hotspots.

The map is live and is updated more than 100 million times a day through cellular-based updates alone. The high data volume enables increased positioning accuracy across every type of road, including residential and rural roads. HERE is offering the HERE Cellular Networks data set to customers in FGDB (File Geodatabase) format.

HERE network positioning technology helps a device locate itself based on which cellular and Wi-Fi networks are in range of the device and how strong each signal is. By aggregating this information, HERE has created a vast map of the world's radio environment, something that hasn't been done before.

Once the crowdsourced data is collected, HERE applies cloud-based machine learning to identify outliers and anomalies in the data to ensure high data quality.

The cellular data can also be used by network operators. HERE Cellular Signals provides a range of benefits, including aiding with network optimization as well as conducting quality evaluations, so companies can improve their networks in areas where signal strength is weaker.

HERE Cellular Signals also offers benefits to freight and logistics companies. For example, transportation companies can use the product to enhance communications between their fleets and the dispatch centers, optimize planning and logistics and evaluate cellular network coverage.

With HERE Cellular Signals, automakers can optimize when it's best for a vehicle to download or upload information. For example, if the vehicle known to be traveling in an area with poor cellular signal strength, it can pre-download any information it needs ahead of time in areas where signal strength is stronger, ensuring a better connected driving experience and the least impact on the network.

HERE was previously owned by Nokia and sold in 2015 for nearly $3 billion to German automakers Audi, BMW and Daimler. The company is playing an important role in the development of driverless car technology, including HD mapping services.

HERE and Continual will demonstrate the technology at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week.

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