Once a household name for its satellite navigation for cars, TomTom NV has taken a backseat in recent years as smartphones, loaded with apps like Google maps, surged in popularity.
Now the Dutch digital mapping company is betting that your car needs directions more than you do. Over the past few years, TomTom has been building high-definition or “dynamic” maps for self-driving cars. It’s a decision that could help it challenge tech platforms, like Alphabet Inc.’s Google, as cars are increasingly sold with more autonomous capabilities.
TomTom now finds itself with several deep-pocketed rivals battling for the future of car navigation, including Apple Inc., Google and HERE Technologies, the digital mapping company controlled by BMW AG and other German car makers. In a blow for TomTom, longtime partner Renault SA and associates Nissan Motor Co. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. last year signed on with Google’s Android operating system to supply standard-definition maps.