Map-based cars are the future says TomTom co-founder

Maps will power smarter, safer and more eco-friendly cars says sat-nav boss

TomTom co-founder says we can expect to see portable sat navs around for another ten years but prepare for mapping to be at the heart of future innovations in in-car technology.

The future of motoring, including advances in eco efficiency, driverless cars and safer roads will rely heavily on the quality of mapping and map data according to TomTom's co-founder Peter-Frans Pauwels.

“Maps in cars will become increasingly important," said Pauwels speaking to at the launch of TomTom's Map Paradise Project.

"The navigation experience is the first step and the real time availability of maps already helps manage congestion and traffic flow but we believe that having the car use more powerful maps will help manufacturers make car safer and smarter in the future.”

TomTom's business strategy relies heavily on creating a world-beating global map that can be harnassed by a range of people such as governments for infrastructure planning and the big car companies who are increasingly looking to use technology to make cars more automated, safer and greener.

"The strategy from TomTom is to build our business based on a number of different areas that don’t just rely on the physical product. We have various segments to play in but the diamond in the crown is the content - the quality of the maps and data.”

“The automotive industry does not move at speed due to the product lifecycle and because they are a lot of perameters to take into account such as legal, safety and warranties," said Pauwels. "But at some stage every car that comes out of a manufacturer will be a map-based car.”

Highly detailed and accurate maps could enable features such as changes the direction of your car's headlights when you turn into a bend, more effective ways to estimate range in electric cars and select routes based on least power consumption or even power the driverless car projects we've seen trialled by Google and Volvo.

Asked whether the increased power of smartphones would change the in-car navigation experience, Pauwels commented: "We believe car navigation lives and belongs in the car not on a smarphone. Deeper integration into the vehicle and will deliver the best user experience."