TomTom and Qualcomm Team-up to make a Pivotal Contribution to Self-Driving Technology

It takes more than just to get regulatory approvals to design and introduce an autonomous car that is fit to run on the road. Parameters of a completely safe autonomous vehicle continue to remain an unsolved riddle for manufacturers. Though on one of the fronts, developers are doing fairly well and might achieve more in the near future. An accurate and reliable mapping system is of utmost significance to the efficiency and safety of self-driving vehicles. In recent years, several automakers and technology companies have precisely come together to further develop mapping technology used in autonomous cars.

So, we are yet gearing up for another example of a collaborative move with the announcement of electronic chip maker Qualcomm and TomTom joining hands to develop a unique data mapping system for autonomous vehicles. Both the companies disclosed few of the facts regarding the project at Mobile Word Congress (MWC) 2017 held in Barcelona.

What is the Project All About?

As per some of the online sources, Qualcomm will provide its high-fidelity chip technology for self-driving cars to TomTom.  These chips will have built-in sensors that will feed images from cameras on the car to a mapping unit. The entire system will create a superior quality digital map for the car to better calibrate while running on the road.

A reliable and efficient mapping technology is quite essential for vehicles having partial or no human interference. This advanced mapping system is anticipated to assist self-driving cars in determining the correct lane and in altering speed on intersections or while making a sharp turn. The technology will be a combination of data received from radars, sensors and cameras.

Previously, both the companies worked on several successful independent projects based on ancillary services for contemporary connected cars and self-driving cars. In 2016, TomTom came to terms of proving its navigation technology to the ride-hailing giant Uber.

Technological limitation

Bearing in mind the current challenges Google and Uber are facing being two of the most prominent advocates of self-driving technology, it seems the industry will need more contributors. This, in turn, is creating opportunities for companies such as Qualcomm Technologies and TomTom to take the centre stage.

Some of the current trends suggest that scaled-up investments by leading automakers in electric cars, smart cars and connected cars have more to say in the future than any of the Silicon Valley companies. 

The Uniqueness of the Program  

The Joint project will integrate TomTom’s HD Map Tool with Qualcomm’s Drive Data Platform (DDP). The project in itself is quite unique, as it will follow a more machine-based data collection method. Qualcomm is reportedly using its Snapdragon 820Am processor for a crowdsourcing device rather massive vehicle fleets to collect map data, imageries and locations information to build the knowledge base. This new method is more effective in feeding information to connected cars regarding their surroundings, road conditions, traffic density and will also provide real-time input on road conditions.

The technology appears to bring imagination one step closer to reality, as a frequently updated HD maps with high accuracy is critical to support some of the most cutting-edge applications envisaged in the industry, particularly for the self-driving segment. Apart from this, TomTom is also working on developing a cloud-based platform to create and maintain HD maps using different input equipment.

About the Author

Nikhil Kaitwade

With over 8 years of experience in market research and consulting industry, Nikhil has worked on more than 250 research assignments pertaining to chemicals, materials and energy sector. He has worked directly with about 35 reputed companies as lead consultant for plant expansion, product positioning, capacity factor analysis, new market/segment exploration, export market opportunity evaluation and sourcing strategies.

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