The winners of the Automotive Innovation Award 2017 are TomTom On-Street Parking for making it easy to find parking spots, Dutch Green Carbon for recycling car tires, and NXP Semiconductors with the radar chip which takes a major step forward for autonomous driving. Jury chair Jan Peter Balkenende not only praised the high level of the finalists, but also sees the Netherlands, partly thanks to the winners, as a frontrunner in mobility solutions.
TomTom wins in the Services category with TomTom On-Street Parking, a tool to help drivers find a parking spot stress-free. According to the jury, “TomTom’s innovation makes the search for parking spots considerably smaller. TomTom’s solution for this major problem is unique because TomTom On-Street Parking can estimate in real-time where the chance of finding a spot is highest. It also reduces unnecessary traffic in urban areas, cutting congestion and contributing to a better environment. This innovation is going to have a major impact on our community and on us as individuals. Parking in urban areas is a major problem, and with its unique innovation TomTom is helping solve that problem.” Jan Maarten de Vries of TomTom responded by saying, “We are so proud. We are sometimes asked if we’ll still be around in five, ten years. Winning this award proves that TomTom is alive and kicking. You can count on more awesome things that will make driving even more enjoyable.”
In the category Challenging Concepts, the title goes to Dutch Green Carbon – green carbon black. With this concept, environmentally-friendly, green carbon black is made from old car tires. The jury’s report on Dutch Green Carbon states, “This innovation recycles car tires, making the materials from recycled car tires available again as a sustainable raw material. The failure to properly reuse car tires is a major societal problem that Dutch Green Carbon solves. It is the start of a successful business.” In his response to the announcement, Jan Driessen of Dutch Green Carbon said, “We are going to turn one-fourth of the Netherlands into carbon by making the old, traditional tire chain circular. By winning this award, we have taken a major first step. This is the beginning.”
The winner in the Technology category is NXP Semiconductors with the radar chip. This chip recognizes objects while driving and warns or even intervenes in case of danger. The jury said this about NXP Semiconductors and the radar chip: “It is fantastic that a Dutch company like NXP is an absolute world leader in the area of chips in the automotive market. The innovation of the radar chip will radically change the world of mobility. This innovation offers countless opportunities for autonomous vehicles. For the Netherlands, it offers big chances for employment and for training the people for the radical change that is right around the corner for the world of mobility. It is fantastic that the Netherlands is creating these types of innovations and companies.” Anton de Grauw of NXP Semiconductors responded to the award by saying, “It is fantastic to see that we built the radar chip completely from scratch. This innovation will contribute to safer traffic globally, and to employment in the Netherlands.”
In addition to the three winners, Solar Team Eindhoven took home the Encouragement Award for the Stella Solar Car Line, a family car running on solar energy which also serves as an energy storage unit. The jury said that “this kind of initiative from students that tackles major social problems must be encouraged. CO2 emissions from the automotive industry are a huge societal issue that can be solved with smart innovations – like the one from Solar Team Eindhoven.
Jan Peter Balkenende concluded the awards with the following: “In a time of disruption and changing mindsets around mobility, the Automotive Innovation Award demonstrates that the Dutch automotive sector is bursting at the seams. Innovation means a lot for the economy, for the sustainability of society, and for employment in our country. We are grateful to the companies that participated in the AIA and we are proud of the winners. With their innovations, they are helping the Netherlands move forward.”