Mapping and navigation company TomTom is releasing a new API and SDK that allows developers to directly integrate its data and technologies into their creations, and Android Headlines had a chance to chat with Developer Relations Head Gregory De Jans to talk about it. He said that the main objective here was to offer things often thought of as commodities for free, up to a certain limit, and make them easy to access and use. This makes TomTom's systems and data more likely to be integrated into a wide variety of projects. On monetization, De Jans said that the company has a small fee for large corporations, but in the startup crowd, they have a pay-as-you-go model where developers can have certain resources, and even up to a certain level of resource consumption on TomTom's cloud, for free. After that, they pay a low rate based on their project's usage.
An important part of any modern mapping application is using machine learning to help fill in gaps and patch data together, and De Jans explained that TomTom has a unique way of doing this. The company creates two types of "tiles", or small swatches of geographical data picked up by satellites, sensors and other methods. The "Map Tiles" and "Traffic Tiles" are captured as often as needed, with traffic being a real-time operation, and the data collected is compared against known data conventions by TomTom's AI. Using these known quantities, the AI stitches the tiles together by choosing what components, such as stretches of traffic or large disturbances, should be linked. In this way, mapping operations can be scaled to almost any size, with TomTom's own AI hardware stack doing all the hard work while developers simply sit back and enjoy the results via the integration of TomTom's API into their own projects.
The first big-name partner for this new release is STMicroelectronics. As part of an ongoing partnership, the company plans to create a wide swath of hardware and software solutions, mostly in the form of consumer-facing, integrated hardware and software products, that will use TomTom's API and SDK. The API comes with all of TomTom's mapping and real-time data, and is built to be easily integrated into just about any software stack. As a bonus, TomTom's SDK includes a pre-built example for GPS-based asset tracking that can be used for fleets, IoT deployments and other spread-out projects. Since the API taps into TomTom's data, which is processed by its own AI programs and corresponding hardware stack, partners do not have to have hefty hardware or devote tons of time to AI training just to use the APIs.