TomTom Mapmakers: Meet Hanno Spijker, Product Manager, EV Routing
OUR MAPMAKERS SERIES
TomTom started with a simple idea: Make digital navigation accessible for everyone. Our people are what make this vision possible. We are excited to celebrate and showcase the amazing individuals who make the location technology that help people every day. In our TomTom Mapmakers series, we publish an interview once a month with some of our product experts, designers, and developers to learn more about their journeys, roles, and hear their insights on the future of location tech.
This month we spoke with Hanno Spijker, Product Manager, specializing in EV Routing. Keep reading to learn more about his career journey, from an early love of computers to aerospace to electric vehicles.
What do you do at TomTom?
I’m a Product Manager for EV Routing. It is my mission to accelerate the adoption of electric mobility by providing solutions to problems hampering that – range and charging anxiety – through our products.
Tell me about your career path.
At a young age, I was intrigued by the computer entering society. Of course, first there were the games, and then there was the hardware. As a teenager I built my own PC and one of my first side jobs was working in a computer store assembling custom PCs for customers. From there it led me to building websites and Content Management Systems, before the era of WordPress.
I decided to study computer science with a focus on embedded systems. After graduating at the German Aerospace Center, where I did research on vehicular networks, I started working at TomTom and entered the automotive space. Automotive is a very interesting space to be in with a lot of challenges. It is about connected embedded systems with challenging resource constraints, like bandwidth or flash wear-out. Also, the way the automotive industry works is challenging and there is room for more agility.
What is your favorite part of your role?
Rallying an engineering team around a product vision and strategy and inspiring people to build great products is what I love. Leading by providing context and empowering the team to come up with great innovative solutions to our problems is what I find extremely important in this.
What is a challenging aspect of your role?
Getting all parties aligned in such a complex environment is challenging. There are customers, internal stakeholders, other teams and departments that all need to understand one another to achieve a great result.
What trends around location technology, connected vehicles, EV, or mobility do you find interesting?
The future of mobility is electric. Road transportation is responsible for 18% of the global CO2 emissions. Although I recommend everyone to use their bike more often and use the train wherever they can, electric vehicles will remain a crucial ingredient to rapidly bring down CO2 emissions. And it is not only passenger vehicles, but also freight vehicles that need to become electric. It is a big change for everyone and requires governments and the automotive industry to lead the change. TomTom can help with location technology to overcome the psychological barriers of range and charging anxiety to accelerate the adoption of electric mobility. That is what really inspires me.
What opportunities are out there for developers as we move toward an electric future?
Our developers are front and center when it comes to building a great product.
There are many challenges that require elegant solutions that users understand and value. From core algorithms to compute the most convenient routes, to beautiful and easy-to-use user interfaces, all need smart developers with different skills.
There are always opportunities at TomTom to have fun and create products together!
What is your favorite coding language?
The last piece of code I wrote was in C++. This code still runs in the TomTom Rider satnav for motorcycles and probably many more applications and products out there. I love the directness of the language and there is not much magic between the code and the execution on the processor. Assembly always brings me fond memories of programming micro controllers during my studies. It is even more direct than C/C++, although not a very practical language, it for sure is a lot of fun. :)
What are some of your hobbies/side projects outside of work?
I have two beautiful sons of age 0 and 4 and it’s great to spend time with them. In my spare time I enjoy outdoor activities a lot: open water swimming, hiking, backcountry snowboarding, running and cycling. There are ideas for more tech projects in my head, but so far that didn’t materialize yet, maybe in the future I can work on it together with my kids!
What do you wish people knew about our industry?
TomTom became famous for its satnav devices. What is less well known is that in the world there are only few players who are able to build a global map and TomTom is one of them. Many big tech companies rely on TomTom data and technology, like Uber and Microsoft. Although we still sell satnav devices and I see them still everywhere in old timers as well as brand new cars, there is much more happening at TomTom than many do realize.
What do you think would be the most fun country to map?
Mapping India sounds like a really fun challenge. Such a large country with so many roads, POIs and people moving it is a huge undertaking to keep it accurate and up to date. Next to that, it is a beautiful country. Nature outside the big cities is amazing.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Please join us to make the world move safer, cleaner and without congestion!
To learn more about Hanno, you can find him on LinkedIn here!
To read more from our Mapmaker series, check out these articles:
- Meet Marcin Graczyk, Engineering Manager
- Meet Jonathan Americo, Product Marketing Manager
- Meet Leen D'hondt, Product Manager, TomTom Maps
- Meet Jose Jose Rojas, Developer Advocate
- Meet Maarten Clements, Search API Product Manager
- Dominika Spolnik, Product Manager, Map Display & Traffic APIs
- Meet Kasia Kaczmarek, Product Manager, Maps SDK
Remember, you can always reach out to us in our Developer Forum for any questions you may have.