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Autoware Maps and Map Formats working group: Meeting minutes 24 July 2019

Here follow the meeting minutes of 2nd Autoware Maps and Map Formats Working Group Meeting, held on 24 July 2019. A recording of the meeting can be found at

This is the list of possible PSFs

that we considered under the following criteria:

  • ease of map creation
  • tooling for reading/writing/visualising/simulating
  • adoption of the format
  • relationship to production systems
  • expressiveness (features that can be encoded)
  • interchangeability with other formats
  • accessibility of the format/tools etc

During the discussion that followed we did a comparative evaluation of the various formats and scored them as follows:

Scale (1=bad 5=good)
Criteria Vector Map Format OpenDrive Lanelet (OSM XML) NDS
Ease of Creation 3 (There are multiple available tools) 1(not many tools to write map) 4 (They are node based, which is probably easier than defining continuous curves) 2 (Seems difficult to create all information)
Tools 3 (Read/Write for ROS software is already implemented as Autoware package) 4 (Many different tools, but majorly for simulation, not for Autonomous Driving Software) 3 (There are many OSM tools, but not much for Lanelet2) 4 (Many tools are available after purchasing license)
Adoption Of Format 1 (Not publicly used by other companies) 4 (Many automotive and tier-1 companies, now being standardised by ASAM) 2 (Some map vendors providing maps in Lanelet2 format) 5 (Created by major automotive and tier-1 companies, standardised under NDS Association)
Relation to Production Systems 1 (No plans for connecting to production systems) 3 (Not directly used in production environment but can be converted to NDS which is favored by many OEMs) 1 (Lanelet is relatively new) 5 (same reason as above)
Expressiveness 2 (Small amount of flexibility) 4 (traffic sign id is not clear in countries outside Germany) 3 (Does have room to extend format, but has less information compared to OpenDrive at the moment) 5 (detailed specification is closed, but is expected to be very high considering adoption and relation to production system)
Interchangeability 2 (MR in gitlab for conversion form Opendrive and Lanlet) 3 (bidirectional convertor to NDS) 3 (Has MR in gitlab, also lanelet1 and opendrive converter available) 2 (bidirectional converter to OpenDRIVE)
Accessibility 2 4 5 1 (requires license)
Total 14 23 21 24

The consensus of the working group is that OpenDRIVE and OSM XML are the only 2 real options. While we would use NDS, it is prohibitively expensive for the vast majority of Autoware Members and the open source community.

OpenDRIVE scored more highly than OSM XML and is preferable because of the wide adoption and closeness to production systems (through the NDS bi-directional converter). The main drawback of OpenDRIVE is the lack of tools to write XODR files, but this is easier to fix (by developing a reader/writer) than increasing the adoption and relation to production systems of OSM XML.

The proposed course of action recommended by this WG is:
Use OSM XML + Lanelet2 in the short term, with an effort to move to OpenDRIVE as the PSF.

The next topic under consideration was the map library + IO API.

Possible solutions are:

Discussion was very short and the consensus was that Lanelet2 is the only real contender.

For the next meeting we will consider the various simulators that might be used and how maps might fit in. We will submit this as a contribution to the Autoware Simulation WG when it convenes.

The following simulators will be considered (with names of the person investigating)

The next meeting is proposed for next week and we agreed to hold it at a time favourable to the US to allow for contributions from US participants.

I propose the following 3 slots for a 90 minute meeting. Please vote for the option which would suit you best. (London, Tokyo, San Francisco). Voting will close on Sunday at midnight GMT and I will announce the time with a link to the next meeting on Monday morning.

Tuesday 11pm GMT (10pm UTC)

Thursday 11pm GMT (10pm UTC)

Friday 6am GMT (5am UTC)


I can participate any of the three choices, but I prefer either:
・Thursday 11pm GMT (10pm UTC) or
・Friday 6am GMT (5am UTC)

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The proposed course of action recommended by this WG is:
Use OSM XML + Lanelet2 in the short term, with an effort to move to OpenDRIVE as the PSF.

I was thinking about this since the last meeting, but are there any reasons to not support Lanelet2 OSM file after moving to OpenDRIVE format?

Lanelet2 library seems to have 1-to-1 relationship between internal data structure and OSM items(e.g. point=node, linestring=way, lanelet=relation). As long as this framework does not change, we should be able to write/read Lanelet2 .osm file with default Lanelet2 parser even if we define custom tagging or custom regulatory_elements. I don’t see any reason to say that we only support OpenDRIVE format when we can actually read other formats. It wouldn’t be too late to deprecate Lanelet2 OSM format when we know that have to modify the library so much for OpenDRIVE that OSM cannot be read anymore.

I suggest that when we make documents, we can have a list of all the formats that can be used in Autoware and add description saying that OpenDRIVE is the recommended format to use.

Hi Mitsudome-san,

That’s a good point. You’re saying, why do we have to choose between OSM XML and OpenDRIVE? Can we not have both?

@JWhitleyAStuff raised the question with the Lanelet2 authors last year, asking whether Lanelet2 can support a different XSD:

I see no reason, other than potentially dividing our focus, why we should not support both. The nice thing about supporting both is that they have complementary characteristics, so that we could continue to use the tools that are so easy to make maps for OSM but benefit from closeness to production.

I agree with this idea and I think it is important to stress that OpenDRIVE format will be the preferred format because that is where most of the development effort will go.


Just so you know: GMT and UTC are the same thing. The time zone for England is currently BST (UTC+1).

You can use the date command [date=2019-08-01 time=22:00:00 format="LLLL" timezone="UTC" timezones="America/Los_Angeles|America/New_York|Europe/London|Europe/Berlin|Asia/Tokyo"] to enter dates that work for everyone automatically: Thursday, August 1, 2019 10:00 PM.

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Thanks @gbiggs for the tip!

By popular demand, the next meeting will be at
Thursday, August 1, 2019 10:00 PM

Anyone is welcome to join, feel free to pass the invitation to others.

Unfortunately we couldn’t find a time that suited both @Hatem and @simon-t4, so can I ask @mitsudome-r to coordinate with @simon-t4 to present the material about Cognata?

Brian Holt is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Autoware Map Data and Formats Working Group
Time: Aug 1, 2019 11:00 PM London

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Hi Brian, no problem, I can join the meeting 20 minutes late if that is OK?

Hi @simon-t4, no problem, please go ahead and join when you can.


No problem, talk to you at Friday Morning.

HI Brian,

before I forget, here is the presentation materials regarding Cognata

best regards


AWF_MapWG_Cognata.pdf (592 KB)

Hi @Brian_Holt,
Here is my presentation for LGSVL Simulator.

Hello @Brian_Holt , My presentation is attached.
Thanks for your efforts.
Intro To CARLA.pdf (87.5 KB)

We (LG) will support LaneLet2 import and export in the next release (coming this week), and also OpenDrive import soon.

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Please find the presentation of LGSVL simulator at SIGGRAPH 2019 Computer Graphics and Autonomous Vehicle Workshop. (Presented by Dmitry). There are several video demos included.

LGSVL Simulator presentation at SIGGRAPH2019

Hi @Brian_Holt,

I have been in contact with Cognata regarding their use of HD Maps. They support OpenDRIVE and NVIDIA DriveWorks (and have experience working with NDS), and are willing to work with customers to support of map formats such as Lanelet2.

They are receptive to inquiries and seem willing to work with customers to adapt their solution for customer requirements.

I have updated the presentation from the last meeting with the relevant information and included it here as an attachment. Although the same concerns remain about the availability of a proprietary simulation for Autoware’s user community, from a map eco-system point of view, Cognata seems suitable for integration with Autoware stack. We should rework the simulator evaluation to reflect this.

AWF_MapWG_Cognata.pdf (561.5 KB)