Automotive manufacturer Toyota continuously improves road safety, providing automated vehicles with accurate, always-on positioning to deal with road inconvenience, which can impact a journey quickly and unexpectedly.

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Central to this concept is allowing vehicles and devices to share real-time data to avoid accidents and potentially dangerous traffic congestion. This includes getting vehicles in the right lane to avoid holding up or crashing into emergency services. Embedded global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) can provide a rough position of where a vehicle is on the road but do not have the accuracy to pinpoint which lane a vehicle is in. This is a significant challenge if the vehicle is in a tunnel or there are multiple lanes on a highway.

With the development of vehicle-to-everything (V2X) applications, Toyota was aware that it needed to be able to judge the precise positioning of a vehicle. Knowing that a vehicle is in a motorway lane is not enough; it is essential to know precisely which lane that vehicle is in to design solutions that will further advance the automotive industry.

In the future, highly connected vehicles will be generating a large amount of data. They will need edge computing so that we don’t overload the system, and also for cost reasons.


Muriel Desaeger, Technical Head of Technical Planning in Research and Development, Toyota Europe

Making sure vehicle position is accurate and reliable

What Toyota calls the "Future Network" is pivotal to its research and development, encompassing how the vehicle communicates with central and edge networks and technology companies to create advanced applications. Ensuring the accurate and reliable positioning of a vehicle is critical. To this end, Toyota teamed with Orange and HERE, a location technology specialist, to develop an advanced positioning solution. All three had long-term relationships, so they were natural collaborators to work on a pilot.

Toyota wanted firstly to use the pilot to increase its knowledge of edge computing and 5G to reduce latency and improve scalability and performance, while enhancing real-time responsiveness. Orange expertise in the fields of connectivity and cloud made it a perfect fit. In essence, vehicle to cloud is a way to share messages in real time among road users to improve convenience, safety and traffic management and enable advanced use cases. However, the position information contained in the shared messages needs to be accurate and reliable for efficient awareness.

To improve such information, the combined technologies include high definition (HD) GNSS positioning and vehicle dead reckoning (VDR) running on a remote platform at the edge. HERE HD GNSS is a positioning service that provides low-level positioning accuracy for automotive, mobile devices and chipsets. Dead reckoning is the calculation of the current position of a moving object by using a previously determined position, including estimates of speed, heading and elapsed time.

From an Orange perspective, 5G wireless technology and edge computing highlighted the feasibility of processing onboard sensor data from the vehicle in real time in the cloud, rapidly returning the corrected position of the vehicle. Connected vehicles generate a massive amount of data, and processing data at the edge is essential to avoid overwhelming the system and keep costs down.

Together these technologies resulted in centimeter-level accurate positioning for an automated vehicle with timely warning for vehicles nearby thanks to the Orange V2X platform when an emergency vehicle is approaching so they can change lanes to avoid collisions, for example.

A successful pilot

The solution has been successfully piloted using sensor data provided by Toyota, corrected position technology from HERE, connectivity and a V2X platform from Orange. An Android application developed by Orange shows how the technology can provide to any nearby road user a warning message in real time that another vehicle may have braked suddenly, avoiding a collision.

The research project was undertaken with automated vehicles in mind, providing a building block for cloud architecture for precise positioning capabilities. This is a significant step for innovation in the automotive industry.

It is also worth highlighting that the same technology could benefit other verticals, like in private areas to improve worker safety, extend collaborative robots or for remote mining vehicles, for example.