Bmw shows intelligent and networked microNavigation for not yet covered destinations

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 26, 2010

BMW Group Research and Technology is working on a project that would give directions to drivers once they're inside large, complex structures. This system will be used alongside satellite navigation systems, permitting drivers to easily navigate factories, fairgrounds, and other similar facilities.

The project, dubbed as Pathfinder from BMW, will provide micro-navigation both inside and outside the vehicle.

In a press release, BMW Project Manager Carsten Isert said that the "realistic visualization of a building" similar to a complex multi-storey car park by means of a micro-Navigation card in the Central Information Display of the research prototype provides the user "a clear navigation and information advantage" that goes further than the conventional range of a road navigation solution.

Owners can download maps and details about different locations, similar to navigation units that are already available. As soon as the information arrives on the handheld device, it is displayed through the car's larger screen.

People with disabilities will find the device useful as it will help them locate a wheelchair-accessible parking spot. It can also be used to guide the disabled person to a spot near a specific elevator. The device can also be used to direct the passengers to any specific point inside the site, such as an office or a desk.

Researchers at BMW are employing the 3 Series to serve as prototype as they embark on finding new navigation possibilities in their microNavigation research project. While road maps in current navigation systems do not display or cover complex enclosed destination areas, these can be visualized through a detailed large-scale map display.

Likewise, conventional navigation systems do not provide support while drivers are outside of their vehicles. In case of microNavigation, it offers an extended solution. Through a mobile unit, drivers can be guided to where they want to go and back to their vehicles.

The system allows drivers to download information about their destination in advance, using their computers at home. If the destination area has a microMap, the system will offer it to the driver automatically. Drivers can then choose their destination within the microMap.

The destination and the map data will be then automatically transferred to the vehicle, thereby augmenting the available navigation within the car. Researchers are expecting the possibility of downloading microMaps while the vehicle is travelling on the road.

On the other hand, researchers have developed lane-specific positioning for the vehicle by linking camera information, map data and GPS coordinates. Then, the system will guide the driver to the destination on a lane-specific route. Drivers would find detailed maps – along with precise car-park positioning – to be useful in maneuvering through car parks and during a trip.

Once the driver has parked the vehicle, he or she could transfer the data to his or her mobile device, which could help provide continuous navigation while they are on foot in complex and uncovered destination areas.

According to Carsten Isert, Project Manager for microNavigation at BMW Group Research and Technology, the realistic visualization of a building -- like a complex multi-storey car park – through a micro-Navigation card in the Central Information Display of the prototype could give a clear navigation and information advantage that conventional systems could not provide.

Robert Hein, Head of Navigation and Data Services of the Future at BMW Research and Technology, remarked that microNavigation allows personalized navigation during the trip as well as at the destination.

Press Release

Pathfinder from BMW

ust imagine that you are on your way to BMW Welt and you know that you have to get your tickets for the guided tour through the BMW Munich Plant at the Info Counter South. The following questions occur to you in quick succession: Where can I park? How do I get into the multi-storey car park and how can I find my way around in BMW Welt? Naturally, the navigation system can show you the way to BMW Welt. Unfortunately, more detailed information on complex destination venues like this is not available – yet. Specialists at BMW Group Research and Technology have taken up this challenge with the aim of giving BMW drivers even more confidence and convenience.

More detailed map display in complex destination areas.
The experts are unlocking completely new potential for navigation in the microNavigation research project. The researchers are using the BMW 3 Series as a prototype. A detailed large-scale map display allows complex enclosed destination areas to be visualised which are not covered by road maps in today’s navigation systems or only have incomplete coverage. This extended navigation solution does not abandon drivers where conventional navigation leaves off. Even outside the vehicle, a mobile unit guides drivers to their desired destination and back to the vehicle. “The realistic visualisation of a building like a complex multi-storey car park by means of a micro-Navigation card in the Central Information Display of the research prototype gives the user a clear navigation and information advantage that goes significantly beyond the conventional scope of a road navigation solution,” explains Carsten Isert, Project Manager for microNavigation at BMW Group Research and Technology.
Looking at it in detail, the system works like this: Drivers are able to download information about their destination in advance on their home PC. If there is a microMap for the destination area, the driver is offered this automatically and they can select their destination within the microMap. This destination is automatically transferred with the map data to the vehicle and augments the navigation available there. Naturally, sometime in the future it will also be possible to download microMaps at will while the driver is on the move. Researchers have also developed lane-specific positioning for the vehicle by networking camera information, GPS coordinates and map data. The driver is guided to the desired destination on a lane-specific route – for example a free parking space near the lift in the best position. Detailed maps in combination with precise car-park positioning provide support for drivers in finding their way around car parks and during the journey. After parking the vehicle, the data can be transferred to the driver’s mobile device. This handheld then provides continuous navigation and helps drivers to navigate on foot in complex and unknown destination areas. “microNavigation gives drivers tailor-made navigation during the journey and at the destination and thereby significantly increases confidence and convenience,” adds Robert Hein, Head of Navigation and Data Services of the Future at BMW Research and Technology.

Many years of experience in the development of navigation systems.
The advance of today’s BMW navigation systems compared with retrofit solutions and dedicated solutions installed in vehicles by other manufacturers is ultimately derived from a long track record of experience. BMW was the first manufacturer in Europe to launch an integrated navigation system for a series vehicle in 1994. This formed one of the foundation stones for innovative systems to network vehicles with their surrounding environment. Today, these systems are grouped under the concept of BMW ConnectedDrive. BMW is consistently developing its navigation systems with the aim of maintaining its leadership position in this area. Development is focusing on innovative supplementary functions designed to enhance safety and convenience. BMW Research and Technology is also playing an important role with the microNavigation research project.

BMW Group Research and Technology
BMW Forschung und Technik GmbH is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BMW AG and has been responsible for research at the BMW Group since 2003. VehicleTechnology, CleanEnergy (hydrogen technology), EfficientDynamics (intelligent energy management/alternative drive systems), ConnectedDrive (driver assistance/active safety) and ITDrive (IT and communications technology) activities all come under its umbrella. Its legal independence as a GmbH (limited company) ensures creative freedom and unbeatable flexibility. Worldwide access to trends and technologies is provided by an established international network with bases in the USA (Palo Alto, CA and Clemson, SC) and Japan (Tokyo), plus Liaison Offices in France with Eurécom (Sophia Antipolis) and in Germany in the shape of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI GmbH) in Saarbrücken.

Topics: bmw, technology

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