TomTom and Bosch step up joint effort to gain ground in car maps race

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 21, 2015 7:02 AM

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Dutch mapmaker TomTom <TOM2.AS> has deepened its partnership in high-definition mapping with German auto supplier Robert Bosch [ROBG.UL] to refine the technology crucial for autonomous driving.

As Nokia <NOK1V.HE> auctions its mapping service Here, attracting interest from potential buyers including German carmakers, TomTom and Bosch said on Tuesday that they would add new layers of data to their maps.

"By the end of 2015 we want to have new high-precision maps for automated driving for all freeways and freeway-like roads in Germany," said Jan Maarten de Vries, TomTom's vice-president of automotive operations.

TomTom, which also reported slightly better than expected quarterly results on Tuesday, will design the maps while Bosch will help to define the required specifications.

Road coverage will subsequently be extended to the rest of Europe and North America, Bosch said.

Multi-layered high-definition maps are key to efforts to introduce automated driving on freeways from 2020, Bosch board member Dirk Hoheisel said.

The new maps will contain a "localization layer" and a "planning layer" for cars to calculate their position on a road by comparing high-definition map data with that gathered by on-board sensors.

Maps developed by TomTom and Bosch, a leading supplier of electronic and mechanical systems to the auto industry, are already being used in automated test vehicles in Germany and the United States, albeit without any localization layer.

Bosch's mobility solutions division is the largest business sector for Bosch Group, with 2014 sales of 33.3 billion euros accounting for 68 percent of the group total.

(Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by David Goodman)