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TomTom Capital Markets Day: A Mapping Company with Autonomous Driving Development Ambitions in Mind

by Angelos Lakrintis | 10月 18, 2019

On Tuesday 24th of September 2019, TomTom held its annual Capital Markets Day at the Hotel Arena in Amsterdam. There were many TomTom engineers showcasing classic mapping developments and more advanced mapping techniques all the way up to autonomous driving features and development. The event featured presentations by senior management and business partners of TomTom.

Harold Goddijn, the CEO of TomTom started the event, summarizing the company’s position by promoting it as an independent company, more like the “Switzerland of maps”.  He stressed that TomTom uses data from third parties ONLY when it is in the interest of TomTom to improve its mapping.

The future plan is to cut the costs of map-making by using less human effort and more automation with the help of Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and Neural Networks.

Alain de Taeye, a member of the management board and a veteran in mapping said that the new trend in mapping will be “transactional mapping”.

TomTom’s Transactional Mapmaking approach delivers high quality and up to date maps optimising on crowdsourced data alongside traditional mapmaking methods.  TomTom’s transactional mapmaking platform minimizes the time between detecting changes in the real world and updating the map on an end-user’s device. A summary of transactional mapmaking can be found in the bullet points below:

  • TomTom’s transactional map production technology integrates each step of the mapmaking closed loop process.
  • It’s an enabler of TomTom maps to be published incrementally with high quality and fast cycle times.
  • This platform can scale to process new sources of sensor data efficiently.

Alain also stated that he believes that Google is doing something very similar but claimed that HERE and some other competitors are not even near in achieving transactional mapping. He also claimed that TomTom “perfected” this technique back in 2016.

Enter Trillian

TomTom has invested in developing its own self-driving platform, known as Trillian. The project is run by Tinosch Ganjineh who is the Director of TomTom’s autonomous product unit team. Tinosch was the CEO of the Autonomos start-up company, which was acquired by TomTom back in 2017. He has an impressive academic background in computer science. Tinosch and his team from Freie Universität Berlin took part at the DARPA Challenge exploring autonomous driving techniques.

The platform itself is based on the former TeleAtlas platform but with new hardware and software techniques. 

The software and operating system is based on a Linux General Purpose Operating System (GPOS) using the Robot Operating System (ROS) middleware as the main factor for sensor and data fusion between the firmware and the hardware. The car does feature a full autonomous software stack from TomTom, but its primary purpose is to help in the development of HD Maps and their seamless integration into an automated driving solution.  

  • Strategy Analytics analysed the autonomous vehicle OS landscape in 2018 in this report.

TomTom’s Driving Framework has also an interface that can be seamlessly connected with the AutoStream platform.

  • Strategy Analytics understands that Volvo is working closely with TomTom testing their Autostream mapping tech on the Gothenburg DRIVE ME 100 project.

TomTom’s development vehicle has a plethora of different sensors on the vehicle for autonomous driving and mapping techniques.

The sensors stack consists of:

  • 2 Cameras (front and back),
  • 3 Cameras (scattered at the top of the windshield)
  • 6 Ibeo LiDAR very well hidden at the front and back of the vehicle
  • 2 Velodyne Puck Hi-Res LiDAR (“hidden” at the sides of the vehicle)
Trillian_Front_Side 

Source: Strategy Analytics

The boot of the vehicle contains all of the electronics needed for cooling of the hardware electronics.

Trillian_Electronics_for_Cooling 

Source: Strategy Analytics

Underneath the back seats one can clearly see an NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2 computer, an Applanix GNSS (INS, IMU, GPS) unit and a Lantech IPES-5416T-8 (IP67/IP54) which is a high performance L2+ (Gigabit uplink) Ethernet switch.

Trillian_Main_Computer 

Source: Strategy Analytics

At the moment they haven’t started testing the vehicle but they are planning to start soon in Berlin where they have received approval for operations.

The Trillian car is operated by two engineers all the time and is equipped with an emergency button and pedal to let the ‘driver’ take over at any time. The HD maps the car is using can be updated in real-time from the Cloud. 

Zenuity Guest Speaker – Erik Coelingh

Erik discussed how Volvo, Veoneer, Zenuity and Autoliv are using TomTom’s mapping for their product platforms.

Zenuity wants to make the transition from ADAS to AD as smooth and safe as possible and Erik shared a slide on the roadmap on the platforms that Zenuity is planning to release with OEMs and other partners.

Zenuity’s AD Roadmap:

  • 2019: Next Generation ADAS - Distributed Architecture
  • 2020: Super Highway Assist 1.0 (Distributed Architecture)
  • 2021: Super Highway Assist 2.0 (Distributed Architecture)
  • 2022: Leading ADAS – Centralized Architecture
  • 2022: Traffic Jam Pilot – Highway Pilot
  • 202x: ADAS/ AD – Scalable Architecture
  • 202x: City Pilot & Valet Parking
IMAG0620 

Source: Strategy Analytics

 

The development of its own self-driving car platform and its partnership with Volvo is an interesting strategic move for TomTom. HD Maps will definitely be useful in the future of the autonomous vehicle development and figuring out how to create them and keep them updated will be a business case which TomTom has already invested in.

The presentations from the Capital Markets Day 2019 can be found in the link below:

TomTom Capital Markets Day 2019

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