TomTom expands its foothold in China with new partnership with Baidu

By Catherine Rowell

TomTom and Baidu have entered a partnership to develop high definition (HD) maps for autonomous driving, enabling TomTom to gain further foothold within China.

Their collaboration on the development of a global HD map service combines TomTom and Baidu’s expertise in HD map-making and artificial intelligence (AI). Through the partnership, Baidu will leverage TomTom’s Real-Time Map Platform to improve HD map-related technologies utilised in China.

TomTom have not been able to enter the tough Chinese market and gain as much traction previously expected. The deal will cement their ability to grow their business and exploration into autonomous driving, but also give their products greater visibility in areas such as consumer, telematics, automotive and licensing.  

Baidu is a leading artificial intelligence company and a major mapping service provider in China. Leveraging its resource and capabilities in AI, the company has been developing HD maps since 2013, using smart technologies such as deep learning to help automate data processing and map creation.

Harold Goddijn, CEO, TomTom, said: “With Baidu moving to TomTom’s map making platform for high definition maps, we’re creating a globally unified HD map service for OEMs and technology companies who are working on the future of driving. We are convinced that we can accelerate this future with smart partners like Baidu.”

TomTom’s HD Map and RoadDNA digital map products support automated vehicles locate themselves on the road and plan manoeuvres, even when travelling at high speed.

Qi Lu, COO at Baidu said: “Our collaboration with TomTom creates a uniform global component in the form of a single HD map service, and further advances our open source self-driving car programme, Apollo.” Baidu’s Apollo platform will shape the creation of a collaborative ecosystem for companies to work together and promote the development and popularisation of autonomous driving technology.

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