German companies are strongly committed to the development of an autonomous driving car. While the major manufacturers are often the centre of attention, there are many interesting start-ups in this space. One such start-up is Autonomos, who recently announced their acquisition by the Amsterdam based TomTom navigation company, thus strengthening the position of both companies in the autonomous driving space.
Autonomos has provided Research & Development consultancy services for automated vehicle assistance systems and built up expertise and technologies in the process, including a full demonstration-level autonomous driving software stack, 3D sensor technology, and digital image processing. The company was established in 2012 after the founders had worked for several years in successful autonomous driving research projects at the Free University of Berlin.
Autonomos has 30 people in both Frankfurt and Berlin, and already tests vehicles in Berlin traffic, which are navigated by eye control or iPhone. The connection of TomTom with 3D sensors and GPS data are the next step towards autonomous driving, the company says.
While Autonomos has the experience and competence with assisted driving systems, the acquisition will advance TomTom’s map-based products for autonomous driving applications. Having an in-house autonomous driving stack will enable TomTom to better serve customers with its products, including its HD map, RoadDNA localisation technology, as well as its navigation, traffic and other cloud services.
Tomtom provides Uber and Apple with its navigation data. In the US, Uber is testing self-driving cars with Volvo, and Apple has also shown interest in the technology. Whether or not a vehicle will be developed is still unclear.
The combination of the German start-up and TomTom’s navigation systems holds the potential the self-driving car to become a reality.