UvA, TomTom team up on the nextgen of autonomous driving

SOURCE: Kevin Laminto/Unsplash
University of Amsterdam and TomTom launched the Atlas Lab to develop research on next generation technologies and autonomous vehicles.

By U2B Staff 

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The University of Amsterdam (UvA) and GPS technology company TomTom are collaborating on a project to develop accurate and high-definition maps for autonomous vehicles using artificial intelligence.

The partners have launched the Atlas Lab at the Amsterdam Science Park’s Innovation Centre for Artificial Intelligence (ICAI), a national network aimed at advancing technology and talent development between knowledge institutes, industry and government in the area of artificial intelligence.

According to a media release, the collaboration between TomTom and UvA will see the former provide its experience to develop solutions that can power connected vehicles, smart mobility and autonomous driving.


From UvA, five PhD students will for the next five years work on developing AI systems capable of automatically recognising common roadside infrastructure such as traffic signs, as well as 3D-localisation of vehicles and combining LIDAR (light detection and ranging) laser and camera images. 

Mobile mapping vans equipped with sensors like LIDAR-systems and cameras will be used for the purpose of retrieving physical data to be inputted into the HD maps. 

According to Theo Gevers, a Scientific Director at the Atlas Lab, UvA has already been conducting research on the automated recognition of items in images and videos.

“Yet the recognition of items and creation of HD maps in highly complex situations like a moving car, is still a huge challenge,” he said.

“This collaboration with TomTom provides an extra dimension to new and challenging AI-research.”

autonomous vehicles
Developing high-quality maps is an essential move for the advancement of autonomous vehicles. Source: Yucel Moran/Unsplash.

Fully autonomous, self-driving cars currently remain in the advanced testing phase due to safety concerns, as well as technical and ethical issues. 

Despite these challenges, many innovative technology companies are joining the race for autonomous vehicles by developing solutions to smoothen the implementation process and finally bring self-driving cars to public roads. 

Among these efforts includes the implementation of sensors to allow autonomous vehicles to interact with the world around them, preventing any accidental crashes. 

Companies are also developing new integrated traffic infrastructure that enables car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communication, which enables more streamlined navigation for self-driving cars across most roads and helps prevent collisions and traffic congestion. 


Research efforts by the Atlas Lab will contribute to this infrastructure with the development of fully functional and accurate HD maps.

“TomTom is pushing the boundaries of the use of AI for making HD maps for self-driving cars,” said TomTom CEO Harold Goddijn. 

“We need groundbreaking research into AI technology, which is why we’re collaborating with UvA’s world-leading AI department on this initiative. This will move us a step closer to an autonomous future with safer roads, free of congestion and emissions.”