Honda of America’s Jim Keller believes cars of the not-too-distant future could be sharing instant updates on driving conditions to a central ‘cloud’, accessible to all carmakers.
Information on congestion, detours, collisions and more would then be instantly updated to the on-board mapping systems of other cars, giving vehicles a better chance of operating fully-autonomously.
"Mapping is going to be critical in the future - it's almost a symbiotic relationship between the auto companies and what we need and what we're asking from the maps,” Mr Keller said, speaking with industry paper Automotive News.
"Symbiotic means that we're also going to be feeding the map makers with updated data and then using that same information to help us. It's really a paradigm shift happening as we move forward related to mapping."
Map-sharing between vehicles may help to overcome problems currently experienced by satellite-based navigation systems in inner-city streets surrounded by high-rise buildings; but only if the updated map data doesn’t also arrive via satellite.
With this in mind, Toyota’s Derek Caveney believes 3D mapping is also critical for autonomous cars and best obtained through a car ‘learning’ an area before driving itself.
But Mr Caveney added he could see potential problems with less-travelled roads as autonomous vehicle technology progresses, saying that mapping data for such roads might not be updated for several days.
"You might not see fully automated vehicles supporting those areas. They might understand where their map limit is and say, 'I can only support you to this target,'" Mr Caveney said, speaking with Automotive News.