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Finding The Best Route with Real-Time Traffic Information


What is the technology behind navigation. We asked the engineers in the navigation development team exactly that.

Using the navigation to do a route search is one of the commonly used features we use in our automobiles. So, how does it work? What is the technology behind it? We asked the engineers in the navigation development team exactly that.

How does a navigation search
with real- time traffic information work?

When the driver enters a destination on the navigation search window, the information is communicated to the route search server. The server then analyzes real time traffic information and historical data which helps predict traffic flow and sends recommended route information back to the car.

The processing of the navigation search request is the same whether you do it on the server or on the navigation system. However, the onboard navigation system has limitations in terms of hardware capacity and storage. It simply cannot hold or process country-wide traffic information in order to find the best route. However, the server can do precisely that thanks to its high computing power.

Aren’t most navigation systems
without server connectivity still
capable of utilizing TPEG
(Transport Protocol Experts Group) data?

The TPEG data commonly used for a navigation search defines each section of roads between intersections as a ‘link’ and collects information accordingly. The traffic in each link is analyzed and classified as ‘congested’, ‘normal’ or ‘good’ depending on traffic flow. Traffic flow information is collected by each road lane. The speed of vehicles differs at each intersection depending on whether they are going straight or taking a left or right turn. So, detailed TPEG data is collected by speed of travel by vehicles traveling in different directions. An onboard navigation system cannot process a vast amount of data by itself. Therefore, it relies on data units which consist of two or three links. This is actually South Korea’s national standard traffic ‘TPEG’ information format provided for navigation systems. We have developed our own format we call ‘Real link’ which collects road information in a lot more detail.

Where and how do you collect
detailed traffic information by
links and lanes?

We collected detailed information from our customers driving cars equipped with BlueLink, UVO and GCS. We then analyzed the data to help them navigate better.

Some people claim that
smartphone navigation apps are
more accurate, while others say
the BlueLink navigation is better.
Who is right?

Smartphone navigation apps have a lot more users than our navigation systems. More data is collected for smartphone navigation apps so people claim that they are more accurate. However, the results of our analysis tells a different story. First, our system actually collects five times more data than most popular smartphone navigation apps out there, in terms of distance driven. Smartphone apps collect data only when they are in use unlike our system. HMG’s system collects data even when vehicles are travelling without using the navigation. The difference between the amount of data is also increasing as more cars with our system are deployed.

It is also important to note that smartphone navigation apps rely on historical data to forecast traffic flow although traffic conditions at the starting point and destinations vary widely. ‘Traffic will be like this today since it was how things were before’ is not a very good way to make predictions since there could be many factors that would make the situation different such as an accident, or long weekend or holiday season, making historical data practically useless.

So, we have established a system which classifies the road links and makes a prediction over a longer period of time. Rather than using traffic data from the past, it makes a prediction using real time data. We tested how our system performed against competitor systems during long holidays and confirmed its superiority over the competition. We also learned that our onboard system generated more accurate GPS values compared to smartphone apps.

Furthermore, our system transmitted accurate vehicle location data for mapping, whereas smartphone navigation apps had mapping errors of up to 300m. HMG’s onboard systems also combine steering input with GPS data, which clearly marks how far a vehicle has travelled straight and when it turns, in a precise manner.

(from left) Sang-woo Lee Senior Researcher, So-yeon Park Researcher, Sung-hwan Park Senior Researcher | The navigation system is very important since it helps drivers manage their daily schedule. This is the reason why we have been concentrating on developing a better navigation search to ensure the best driving experience possible for our customers.

No other automaker in the world
seems to be paying attention to
the navigation route searcher as
much as Hyundai and Kia.

A great interior is a key source of satisfaction for car buyers. The seat, steering wheel, how the buttons feel and an overall sense of luxury are all important aspects of interior design. Recently, the navigation screen has emerged as another important factor in determining the quality of the vehicle interior, in particular as the size of the screen has grown. Moreover, the quality of the navigation system has become an important factor in determining the overall experience of a vehicle model. Interestingly, some luxury cars have a very low quality navigation systems so drivers end up attaching their smartphones on an airduct.

These days, almost all drivers rely on a navigation system, helping them when they are going to meet someone or which rest area to stop at. The navigation system is very important since it helps drivers manage their daily schedule. This is the reason why we have been concentrating on developing a better navigation search to ensure the best driving experience possible for our customers.

There seems to be a significant
difference in accuracy depending
on the map data used?

The map data that we use is created in partnership with Hyundai Mnsoft, an affiliate company of HMG. We are developing equipment to measure roads and develop automation processes to create high-precision maps. Unlike other map data, the one we are creating is developed specially for car navigation. To work best, if a road is curved, the angle of the curve needs to be as accurate as possible. We also need to know where and how many entrances there are to buildings to make the guidance as accurate as possible.

Currently, the high-precision map is used for HMG’s Highway Driving Assistance (HDA) feature. It is important for the onboard camera to accurately detect road lanes to make HDA work but having accurate map data is also very important. This is why we cannot simply rely on third party map data. My team is a part of the autonomous driving technology center so we receive detailed specifications on what is needed to make high level autonomous driving a reality. This helps us develop high precision map data. I think car companies are in the ideal position to create the best possible map data for cars.

How will the navigation search be
utilized in the age of connected cars?

Even in the age of connected cars with autonomous driving, the essence of the automobile is getting from A to B. Cars will still have to get people to B so it is essential to know how to get there. Identifying the best route will still remain an important issue in an autonomous future and the navigation search will continue to deliver benefits to drivers.

What type of specialists are
working with the navigation
development team to be able to
identify the best route?

Experts with a variety of specialties including mechanical engineering, electronics, mathematics and statistics are all involved. We plan to recruit traffic engineering, big data and urban engineering experts in the near future. Furthermore, we are looking into how we can accurately predict traffic using AI.