TomTom is usually associated with map navigation while driving, however the Netherlands-based company has been using their intense amount of mapping data to enter into the new era of connected and self-driving vehicles.
TomTom may not have the consumer mindshare of Google Maps, but it underpins many services you likely use daily, including Uber and Apple Maps. Microsoft also uses TomTom for services such as Azure, Bing Maps, and Cortana.
TomTom has been striking an impressive roster of partnerships of late as it looks to power myriad connected cars and mobility services. Last month, TomTom teamed up with Microsoft and public transport data platform Moovit to pool their resources and create the ultimate multi-modal transport platform for developers — one that leverages TomTom’s real-time driving and parking data. And in the past week alone, TomTom has announced new or extended map and navigation deals with Nissan, Fiat Chrysler, and Volkswagen Group’s range of brands across Europe covering Volkswagen, Audio, Porsche, Skoda, Lamborghini, and Bentley. Additionally, TomTom will also now — for the first time — be the traffic service provider for Audi vehicles in China and Japan.
But perhaps most interestingly, TomTom revealed that it has been selected by “multiple top 10” automakers to supply HD maps, which provide a more accurate representation of the terrain including lane models and geometry and traffic signs, with centimeter accuracy. These maps are a crucial component of autonomous vehicles, given that cars need accurate situational awareness to self-navigate busy thoroughfares. Even the most accurate GPS system on the roads today could have an error margin of several meters, which to a self-driving car is the difference between driving in a lane or careering down the sidewalk.
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