What was the first big auto industry breakthrough for TomTom?
If you go back 10 years when we started with Renault, we brought all the TomTom technology into the car: our hardware, software, maps and connectivity. We were also providing the SIM card. We had our web application to update the map, personalize the device and we provided customer care. People would call TomTom if they had a problem, not Renault.
Last October TomTom announced an extension to its deal with PSA Group to provide navigation components beyond 2020. The deal includes maps, routing and traffic information for the Peugeot, Citroen, DS, Opel and Vauxhall brands. Is this a step forward?
We will do more in the next generation than in the current one. And we will do it very differently.
The overall development setup is different. The number of partners that are brought together has dramatically increased. These are people you have to work with as part of an ecosystem. There is a lot more interface work to determine how to connect things and how to check that everything works together seamlessly.
How will TomTom benefit from autonomous cars?
What is the autonomous driving challenge from a map perspective? The base map. We are mapping, or remapping, the roads in high-definition format for autonomous driving. That is an evolution of the standard map-making work. The challenge with autonomous driving is that if something happens on the road you are on, you want to know. We will use the data from the sensors on the autonomous cars and send it to the cloud to generate map updates whenever they are relevant and then resend that to the car. We use what we call “auto stream” for that. I call this the Netflix of autonomous driving – a map on-demand service. It guarantees that your autonomous car gets the latest available map wherever it’s driving. We think we have the best high-definition map ecosystem for the autonomous driving industry. Ultimately, you want to make people really confident that the car knows what it is doing.