NavInfo: This is where we develop our most pioneering technology

NavInfo wants to become the ‘Digital Brain of Intelligent Driving’. To get there, the Chinese company relies heavily on the innovations from its research lab in Eindhoven. “There is an enormous amount of knowledge and talent available in Eindhoven, which enables us to develop cutting-edge technology that helps shape the future of mobility.”

13 March 2020

Founded in 2002, NavInfo is a global leader in navigation software, digital maps, dynamic traffic information, location big data and telematics solutions for passenger and commercial vehicles. Its customers include some of the world’s largest players in the automotive industry. With 6,000 employees across 39 entities, NavInfo generated about 2.1 billion yuan in 2018 revenue.

Expanding in Eindhoven

NavInfo arrived in Eindhoven in 2011 when it took over Dutch map services provider Mapscape. Since then, the combined workforce in Eindhoven has more than doubled to almost 200. “Expanding in this region has been a smooth experience for us,” says Rob Lavreysen, General Manager Europe Customer & Market Development. “Years ago, we bought a building very close to Eindhoven airport and we recently found additional space right across street. It has also been relatively easy to attract the right talent.”

A large part of NavInfo’s employees in Eindhoven work at its European Advanced Research Lab, which focuses on developing technology to help shape the future of intelligent driving. To provide highly accurate, real-time traffic information and high-definition maps, the company increasingly relies on massive amounts of data about road and weather conditions.

“In the future, more and more of this data will be generated through sensors and cameras built into cars,” Lavreysen explains. “This creates a lot of complexity. In Eindhoven, we develop technology to instantly analyze and process the captured data, which enables us to develop more advanced maps and support the global trend towards connected and autonomous driving.”

Pioneering research

The availability of talent and knowledge is the main reason why NavInfo keeps expanding its R&D presence in the region. Lavreysen: “We also have a large R&D operation in China, but it’s fair to say that Eindhoven is responsible for some of our most academic and pioneering research. This has a lot do with Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), which gives us access to top talent and leading research in many relevant areas including image processing, artificial intelligence (AI), deep learning and data security.”

To increase its visibility among potential candidates, NavInfo works closely together with BOM. Recently, it participated in a regional talent event hosted by BOM and Cynergy.

The regional talent event was a great success. We generated many new CVs and we have already interviewed the first candidates. We also greatly benefit from BOM’s extensive network and their knowledge about the regional business scene and the expat community.

Rob Lavreysen, General Manager Europe Customer & Market Development - NavInfo

Business development

In addition to R&D, NavInfo’s team in Eindhoven is also active in business development. The company is one of the partners in AI in Motion. This spin-off from TU/e aims to develop new technologies and services in the field of autonomous driving and smart mobility. “Activities like these allow us to speed up innovation in areas that are traditionally not part of our core business. The fact that we find opportunities like these in Eindhoven speaks volumes about the technology leadership of the region.”

The future is bright for NavInfo in the Eindhoven region. Lavreysen: “This region has strengths in many technology areas, which provides us with a lot of flexibility to respond to new developments in our rapidly evolving industry. Going forward, we have the ambition to keep growing in Eindhoven to support our parent company in China and to eventually also help attract more customers in Europe.”

NavInfo in numbers:

  • Established: in 2002, NavInfo arrived in Eindhoven after the takeover of Mapscape in 2011
  • Employees: around 6,000
  • Revenue: around 2,1 billion yuan (CNY)
  • Activities in Brabant: R&D and Map Services
  • Number of employees in Brabant: around 200

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