Detroit-based General Motors (GM), a multinational corporation that manufactures vehicles and vehicle parts, and sells financial services, has filed a patent application for a navigation map system that regularly updates itself.
The system will use blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT) to gather data from vehicle sensors and develop a detailed map for autonomous cars.
The filing, which was submitted back in October 2018 and officially released on April 2, 2020, argues that current maps are “difficult to keep dynamic without incurring large costs.” This may be due to the fact that these maps are maintained via specialized vehicles, whose reach is restricted to only a few sections of the world.
GM is proposing a solution which aims to distribute the process to many different vehicles, which would gather real-time data from their surroundings via sensors, while they drive around. This data would then be compared with information provided by a discrepancy detector, which reviews existing maps.
If there are any differences found, then they will be recorded on a blockchain-based platform which keeps track of all the map data. The “candidate transaction” will be validated if other automobiles experience similar changes.
General Motors’ patent indicates that the DLT network will be managed by autonomous vehicles and mining nodes, which would reside in data centers.
The system has probably been created to support General Motor’s “Super Cruise” feature, which offers a semi-automated driving experience on some of the automobile manufacturer’s luxury models.
The system depends heavily on the use of navigation maps, which means it may only be used while driving on supported roads.
Distributing the map creation process should help GM cover most of the roads in the United States.
The patent notes that one of the main advantages of using the system is distributing the map creation process and allowing several different entities to contribute to a particular map. This may be why the system will be developed using blockchain tech or DLT.