TomTom has patented a method and system for determining a vehicle’s location and orientation using camera images. The technology involves generating a local map representation, detecting landmark objects, and updating electronic maps. This innovation enhances navigation accuracy and map updates based on real-time data from vehicles. GlobalData’s report on TomTom gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

According to GlobalData’s company profile on TomTom, AV localization algorithms was a key innovation area identified from patents. TomTom's grant share as of January 2024 was 33%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Generating local map representation of vehicle environment using images

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: TomTom NV

The granted patent (Publication Number: US11835358B2) discloses a method and device for generating a local map representation of a road area using images captured by cameras associated with a vehicle. The method involves processing images to detect landmark objects, generating a three-dimensional representation of the landmark object, comparing the local map representation with a reference map, and selectively updating the reference map based on the local map representation. The device includes a processor configured to perform the method steps, such as detecting landmark objects, determining transformations for mapping objects between images, and updating the reference map with landmark observation information.

Furthermore, the patent details the characteristics of the landmark object that can be included in the reference map, such as location, orientation, shape represented by a 2D polyline, pose matrix for transforming the polyline into a 3D space, and a reference image describing the content. The method and device aim to enhance mapping accuracy by detecting landmarks in the environment, mapping them in three dimensions, and updating reference maps with accurate information. The technology can be beneficial for navigation systems, autonomous vehicles, and mapping applications that rely on precise and up-to-date map data for efficient and safe operations on the road network.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.