Navigation and mapping company TomTom -- which provides data to companies like Uber and Apple as well as for its own GPS systems -- has made an acquisition to add more autonomous driving technology to its platform. It has acquired Autonomos, a Berlin startup that has worked in R&D consultancy for various self-driving projects out of Germany. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed. Autonomos was founded in 2012 by a group of computer science and artificial intelligence academics who had worked on driving projects at the Free University of Berlin. That has included building vehicles for the DARPA Grand Challenge competitions.
Location technology specialist, TomTom, and the University of Amsterdam (UvA), announced the launch of a new public-private research lab. Atlas Lab will focus on using Artificial Intelligence (AI) for developing advanced, highly accurate and safe high definition (HD) maps for self-driving vehicles. The lab is part of ICAI, the national Innovation Centre for AI, based in the Amsterdam Science Park. In collaboration with TomTom, the UvA is embarking on research on the use of AI for creating HD maps suitable for all levels of autonomous driving. Theo Gevers, one of the Scientific Directors at Atlas Lab, comments: "At the UvA we are already doing research on automated recognition of items in images and videos. Yet the recognition of items and creation of HD maps in highly complex situations like a moving car, is still a huge challenge. This collaboration with TomTom provides an extra dimension to new and challenging AI-research."
Microsoft is to use mapping and traffic data from navigation company TomTom across a number of its services including Azure and Bing Maps. TomTom's data will power mapping services across Microsoft applications, including Bing, Cortana and Windows under an expanded partnership. Microsoft's Azure will also become TomTom's preferred cloud provider. As part of the expanded deal, the companies said, TomTom will be "a leading location data provider" for Azure and Bing Maps. Azure Maps allows companies to build maps, routing and traffic data into their cloud-based apps, for example, to create Internet of Things, logistics and asset tracking services.
TomTom is selling its telematics business to tyre company Bridgestone for €910m ($1.03bn). TomTom said the deal would allow it to focus on its core location business, including mapping, navigation software, and real-time traffic information and services as the industry moves towards autonomous driving. Bridgestone said the deal would give it better insight into vehicle operating conditions via millions of data points a day. "After a thorough review of strategic options, we have determined that the sale of Telematics to Bridgestone is in the best interest of both Telematics and our core location technology business," said TomTom CEO Harold Goddijn. TomTom is facing increasing competition in the mapping space both from existing rivals like HERE Technologies but also increasingly from Google.
Look under the hood or dashboard of any commercial truck and you'll find an array of sensors monitoring the performance of every on-board system, and sending telemetry data back to the manufacturer. Once captured by the Internet of Things (IoT), telemetry data holds tremendous value for scenarios beyond maintaining the vehicle and extending its lifespan. For example, with location-based data, fleet managers could more easily oversee the entire fleet of transportation assets, and manufacturing engineers could pinpoint the location of the next load of materials in the supply chain. Yet despite the potential value of these and other scenarios, companies have been hard-pressed to innovate on location-based solutions on a scale that provides meaningful ROI. Which is why we're releasing today Azure Location Based Services (LBS), a new IoT offering meant to change all that.