Interview: Tech Wire Asia – TomTom’s Tomaso Grossi on the potential of self-driving technology in Asia

IN August, the first self-driving taxis in Asia were rolled out in Singapore by nuTonomy. The cars only navigated a 2.5 sq. mile district, but their pilot run firmly marked the beginning of the self-driving car movement in the Asia Pacific.

Self-driving cars are no longer a futuristic idea. Uber, Volvo, Ford, Toyota and even Chinese search engine Baidu have all announced plans for self-driving cars.

21 million self-driving cars will be on the road by 2025, according to analysts at IHS Automotive and, according to KPMG, could result in 2,500 fewer deaths between 2014 and 2030.

But there are still major challenges to adoption of self-driving cars, especially in the often over-congested city roads found in the Asia Pacific.

As providers of state-of-the-art navigation technology, TomTom is at the forefront of the automated driving revolution helping to make self-driving cars a reality.

The company, which has 450 million users, recently launched its ‘Localization Demonstrator’.


The new demonstration device leverages TomTom’s HD Map and RoadDNA technology and uses sensors expected in autonomous vehicles to provide accurate and robust lane-level localisation of a vehicle and the ability to perform real-time lane positioning.

Product Marketer Automotive at TomTom, Tomaso Grossi, shares his expertise with Tech Wire Asia on how self-driving cars can change the car market in Asia Pacific, if the industry can overcome the initial challenges.

What is the potential for self-driving cars in Asia Pacific?

The potential is enormous. Asia faces some interesting developments and some interesting challenges; there is very strong urbanization in some specific markets, for example, China, South Korea and Japan.

There are also growing populations, and in some countries, such as Japan, there is an aging population.

The issue self-driving cars can address are to do with congestion of urban environments as they are likely to, to some extent, take some cars off the road and reduce congestion as well as emissions.

Read the full interview here