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NDS.Live specification now openly accessible

25. April 2022

The NDS Association has decided to make NDS.Live openly available to non-members for evaluation and development on developer.nds.live. We believe in the power of collaboration enabling connected automotive eco-system with the worldwide standard for map data. Anyone can now use NDS.Live for internal evaluation and testing. And you do not have to be an NDS Association member for this. However, commercial use of the NDS.Live specification remains tied to a membership in the NDS Association. What are the concrete advantages of NDS.Live for you? You benefit from significantly lower development costs when it comes to new navigation and mapping solutions, as you can build upon a proven specification. And you are significantly less dependent on specific suppliers or solutions as NDS.Live is an automotive industry standard jointly defined by the NDS Association’s 43 members.

Why are the NDS Association and its members opening the access to the NDS.Live specification? We want as many automotive eco-system companies as possible to benefit from a modular and connected map data specification, because it has never been more important that we all work together to advance the possibilities of connected mobility of the future.

We all know: Since the first introduction of the Navigation Data Standard as a binary map database format that enabled the interoperability between map data and navigation solutions of different suppliers, the market needs and possibilities of the technology have evolved enormously. Map data today needs to be much more detailed and precise to support driver assistance and automated driving functions. In addition, automotive platforms are spanning more and more models as OEMs seek greater scalability and cost efficiency – and EV platforms will only accelerate this trend. In addition, cars are increasingly equipped with data connectivity so that map data can be stored and processed in the cloud. And that is not where it stops: new use cases for map data are emerging all the time. NDS.Live is the ideal way to support these new requirements and use cases.

Open sign
NDS.Live is now openly available.

So what is it about? NDS.Live at a glance

NDS.Classic was originally designed for digital maps stored in a car and used by applications running on embedded devices. But modern navigation solutions must cope with new types of requirements. Driving assistance features and autonomous driving systems need highly detailed up-to-date information to guide their decision-making processes. Applications are running on embedded and also on mobile devices, they use onboard and online services, and the vehicles supported by the applications are becoming nodes in growing, connected mobility network. To address the developments and challenges that come with them, a new generation of the NDS specification was needed: NDS.Live.

NDS.Live is based on the many years of experience of leading car manufacturers, system providers, and map data providers. The focus is particularly on the growing requirements of networked vehicles. NDS.Live is modular and self-contained to minimise data consumption, download and cache data and enable both embedded vehicle and cloud systems.

The modular approach allows map data layers to be used by vehicles according to their active feature set, while the architecture of the underlying system scales across the feature portfolio. There is data with very different shelf lives. Some of the information does not need to be updated often. Examples are visual data such as 3D landmarks or a digital terrain model. Then there is data that changes more often and therefore needs to be updated repeatedly – such as POI and speed limits. And then there is data that is needed in near real time and that a system only uses once, for example variable speed limits, the availability of parking spaces or charging stations for electric vehicles. Across the spectrum, data is ideally reused when possible and dynamic data is kept in containers that are as small as possible. A wide variety of data must be mapped for a multitude of use cases.

With NDS.Live, these different data layers can be managed and pre-published to then be configured and bundled as smart layers according to individual needs. Those who need a different configuration later, for example to activate an additional function or to react to market needs, can configure an additional smart layer composition from the pre-published data layers. All this was not possible with a static, non-modular data specification such as NDS.Classic.

NDS.Live identifies three main aspects of map information in connected use-cases:

Woman standing in front of her car looking at a road map
If you are still looking for the best modular map data system, you can use NDS.Live for free now.

NDS.Live interfaces feature the following aspects:

More advantages of NDS.Live

Companies using NDS.Live will benefit from a cost advantage as there is no need for large storage hardware in the vehicle and no need to download large update regions such as the whole of Europe. Vehicles will only consume what they really need. And let’s not forget that NDS.Live enables an expected user experience: not only are the functions absolutely reliable, but they are also supported by up-to-date map data. Manual data updates are not necessary, and data does not have to be backed up separately, e.g. downloaded to a USB stick. Furthermore, NDS.Live is easily scalable to add more functions should the need arise and to reconfigure the characteristics of a vehicle in the showroom or for the used car market. The networked approach offers various advantages compared to a static map database. For example, with NDS.Live and an intelligent virtual home zone, the vehicle only downloads the data it really needs, which significantly reduces data consumption. So why not make navigation a bit easier and better in 2022?

Note: The access to the NDS.Live specification is completely free for you. So, you can dive right in, put new development ideas to the test, experiment, explore possibilities and share the results with the NDS.Live development community. An NDS Association membership is due when your solution is ready for the market, and you will use it commercially.

Child sitting in a toy car and driving through the forest
Because of its modular nature, NDS.Live can flexibly adapt to increasingly heterogeneous map use-cases so you are prepared for future mobility challenges.

Start developing with the NDS.Live spec right away by registering for a free NDS.Live developer account.
Watch the webinar “What is NDS.Live?” for more background.

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