- TomTom Navigation
The nature of navigation is changing. Navigation systems are rapidly becoming an ubiqutious and indispensable tool available on PNDs, smartphones and built-in automotive head units. The availability of connectivity and the wide availability of smartphones impact the navigation experience in several ways, some more device-centric and some more user-centric.
Smartphones can be used to add connectivity to stand-alone devices, allowing for access to services such as real-time traffic. The computational power of smartphones can be used to collaborate with in or on-dashboard devices that provide the screen and user interaction functions. There are currently many interfaces being developed to allow for this device integration.
In addition, applications on various user devices (including the car) work seamlessly together to allow for an integrated navigation experience, whenever and wherever the driver is.
Example use cases would be pre-trip planning and last mile navigation. Personalisation is an important characteristic of this integrated navigation experience and future navigation will go much further than just bringing a person from A to B.
Today, we are only at the brink of the abovementioned enrichment of the navigation experience for end users. At TomTom, we believe many different applications will be developed around navigation in the future.
With our mature software assets, we are well positioned to address the needs of hybrid navigation, ADAS and Autonomous Driving, as well as emerging trends such as Smart Cities, and urban mobility. The Connected Car, as well as connected personal devices, make it possible for intelligent transportation solutions that go beyond just providing routes. Instead, the connected traveller will experience how mobility as a whole will benefit individuals while also providing improved traffic solutions for municipalities.
We are collaborating with key partners in the automotive industry, public authorities, information service providers, standardisation bodies, and research institutions to shape the future of Intelligent Transportation System (ITS).
All our navigation systems are designed with the driver in mind. We deliver a state-of-the-art and off-the-shelf User Interface that is simple, intuitive and easy-to-use. We have also been a leader in enabling users to personalise their navigation experience for many years.
NavKit, our state-of-the-art navigation engine, is the foundation for many of TomTom's products. This engine implements our core navigation IP and algorithms. It also provides interfaces (APIs) that enable the development of fully customised navigation applications. NavKit is fully portable to any high-level Operating System (OS), such as Linux, Android, iOS, QNX, Tizen and Windows.
We embraced the industry Navigation Data Standard (NDS) map format, and delivered a new set of navigation products based on this format in 2015. We completed our switch from the state-of-the-art TomTom Classic (TTC) run-time maps format to NDS; a complete technology renewal with latest architectural designs and a new and more-easily maintained code base. Subsequently, we rolled out competitive and novel features in our NavKit-based navigation products.
A key factor is that our new NDS-based code supports both embedded systems and online navigation services (Online Routing, Online Search and Online Maps). These products are built on the same code base, which gives them a consistent, robust API logic. The move to NDS has improved our own efficiency, allowing us to increase the pace of development and to roll out NDS-based online navigation services and embedded navigation at the same time. NDS allows our new products the flexibility to be paired with a wide range of partners’ products, based on their specific requirements.
In 2015, we launched the TomTom MyDriveApp application and the MyDriveWeb website, both running on our all-new NDS-based navigation engines. We also launched NavCloud, a syncing and sharing service. NavCloud allows users to synchronise their favorites, home and work, current destination, and routes across their mobile devices and computers. All of these components are available to consumers, and we offer white-label connected navigation components to automotive and licensing customers.
We made good progress with our newly developed map visualisation engine for NDS. The map visualisation was built from the ground up, and offers impressive features including support for multi-display, cross platform (iOS, Android) interactive map rendering. The new technology offloads more object rendering to the Graphics Processing Unit, which allows superior scalability. This greatly improves the responsiveness and crispness of the user interface, for example when zooming in or out a map view; due to the vector-based graphics, zooming avoids blurry map tiles and provides a very smooth experience for the user. This technology will offer the driver lane-level guidance and 3D visualisation of bridges and tunnels. The customer interest in the new map visualisation solution is high and we are already integrating with OEM platforms for demonstration.
We delivered a free text search engine for NDS this year. This feature required development of new algorithms to enable a more flexible search paradigm. Free text search means that a user can search without using the structured format of listing the country, city, street name and address number. As with the other new NDS-based features, the same engines are used for embedded and online products such as the MyDriveApp and the MyDriveWeb website.
Finally, we enriched our industry-leading map matching algorithms, which now outsmart traffic and get customers there faster. These work independently for both TTC and NDS. Map matching is the feature that shows the user’s location on the map. To do this, we use several last known positions instead of only one, to show more accurately the user’s location, regardless of whether there are overpasses or other obstructions blocking the GPS signal.
We will soon release Decision Point Navigation based on NDS NavKit, which will add an innovative dimension to dynamic routing to outsmart traffic and real-time obstructions. We are well positioned to continue leading in NDS navigation software for superior navigation, search and map display.
Our connected navigation solutions and strategic research partnerships will continue to leverage real-time data sets to provide innovative solutions for tomorrow’s problems, including megacity traffic, Autonomous Driving, urban smart mobility, and pollution.