Watch out, Google Maps – TomTom just reinvented the sat nav

New TomTom sat nav software takes the fight to Google Maps with cloud-based updates and offline mode

TomTom Navigation for Automotive
(Image credit: TomTom)

TomTom powers many of the best sat navs and is also the mapping system used by  automotive companies including Renault, VW, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz and others for their in-dash solutions, but free cloud-based apps such as Google Maps, Waze and Apple Maps have eaten into Tom Tom's popularity. After all, why would you pay for your in-dash sat nav's maps to be updated when you can stick a phone on your dashboard and get free, up-to-date maps from Google or Apple instead?

Well, TomTom thinks it has an answer with its new cloud-based TomTom Navigation for Automotive, which it is making available to car manufacturers. Because it's cloud-based that means the maps can be kept fully up-to-date, with information such as live traffic data, as well. TomTom's new system also features an offline mode, so that when there's no data connection, the sat nav switches to its onboard software and maps so your navigation is never interrupted.

TomTom has also developed a brand-new user interface (called NavKit2UI) that can be implemented across different car brands and regions and, according to TomTom, is designed for safety and ease-of-use.

"The intuitive interface can be displayed on the centre stack, cluster screen, head-up display (HUD) and passenger screens in different sizes and aspect ratios. This integrated approach means important information such as turn-by-turn and lane-level navigation instructions, as well as traffic and hazard warnings can be projected on the vehicle’s HUD or cluster screen, increasing driver safety and comfort. The driver can also interact directly with TomTom’s navigation via easy-to-use voice assistance from Amazon Alexa, Cerence or Houndify," TomTom explains.

"With cloud delivery at the heart of the new TomTom Navigation for Automotive, we have combined the safety and comfort of an in-dash system with the always up-to-date and super-fast experience of a smartphone app," adds Antoine Saucier, Managing Director, TomTom Automotive.

It sounds like a good solution that means drivers can enjoy using their larger in-dash navigation or HUD instead of a phone, but what we don't know yet is whether car makers will charge a subscription fee for those live map updates. If they do, then Apple and Google probably won't be overly concerned.

Looking for a new sat nav? The TomTom GO Premium is currently top of our best sat navs guide and the best prices for it are shown below.

Paul Douglas
Global Digital Editorial Strategy Director, Future

Paul Douglas is Global Digital Editorial Strategy Director at Future and has worked in publishing for over 25 years. He worked in print for over 10 years on various computing titles including .net magazine and the Official Windows Magazine before moving to in 2008, eventually becoming Global Editor-in-Chief for the brand, overseeing teams in the US, UK and Australia. Following that, Paul has been Global Editor-in-Chief of BikeRadar and T3 (not at the same time) and later Content Director working on T3, TechRadar and Tom's Guide. In 2021, Paul also worked on the launches of and PetsRadar.