How TomTom Changed the Way We Drive Forever

August 20, 2021

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2020/2021 AHF Awardee Harold Goddijn and three like-minded entrepreneurs came together to create Palm Top Software in 1991, the company that would later become TomTom. Under Goddijn’s leadership, the company created pioneering digital map and location technologies. In 2021, he was named as the AHF’s first ever Mobility Innovator Award winner.  

TomTom CEO Harrold Goddijn is the Automotive Hall of Fame’s first Dutchman to be recognized with an award

Over his 30-year career at TomTom, Goddijn has overseen the development of new products, steered the company through pivotal acquisitions and mergers, and is now guiding the Dutch location technology firm as it works to achieve its vision of a safer, cleaner, congestion-free world. 

With Goddijn at the helm, TomTom has witnessed its fair share of challenges over the years. Take smartphones, which put maps in millions of people’s hands and tested TomTom’s dominance in the personal navigation market.

Through remaining agile and adaptable, TomTom has been able to reinvent itself with navigation applications, in-vehicle systems and traffic and travel information for automakers, enterprises, developers, cities and governments around the world. 

Highly detailed, robust and up-to-date maps are still at the core of TomTom’s business.  

Over the years, TomTom has refined its mapmaking process, taking it from manual and labor-intensive to heavily automated, fast and data driven.  

The TomTom GO packaged a GPS receiver, touchscreen and mapping software into an affordable easy to use package. 

The company’s maps are now so accurate that they’re used in both navigation and traffic products as well as in advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) found in more than 3 million cars around the globe. These maps can provide cars and drivers with detailed information about what’s on the road ahead, helping them to drive more safely and efficiently.  

In an interview published on TomTom’s blog, Goddijn shares how difficult it is to predict the future. Five years, 10 years, even just one year from now, it’s impossible to say what will happen. Instead, his resolve is to remain adaptable and ready to adjust course, ready to approach challenges head-on. 

“I was really pleased to get the news (of the AHF award),” Goddijn said. “Getting the recognition that we did something meaningful, recognized by the whole industry, is a great, great moment.” 

He is also quick to point out that credit isn’t his alone. “It is not just for me, but also for what we have done as a company together with the founders, my wife, and everybody who works at TomTom.”

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