TomTom’s 3D mapping takes the connected car a step closer towards highly automated driving

Wednesday, July 29, 2015 13:53
Posted in category Arrive Alive

TomTom live trafficIn a recent announcement, TomTom (TOM2) revealed that its complete TomTom connected navigation solution will be available in the new Fiat 500 range in Europe. The embedded system features the freshest TomTom maps, with a superior routing engine and includes five years of TomTom’s live connected suite of services, tapping into the consumer’s need for a car that offers smart navigation solutions, real-time updates and more detailed mapping.

Etienne Louw, General Manager of TomTom Africa, explains the significance, “Up until now, cars have been quite isolated where navigation systems rely on dealing directly with dealerships, and involve DVD or SD card updates that the driver has to initiate. This is both time consuming and inconvenient for drivers. Consumers are craving a service similar to that of a smartphone, where information is instantly updated and easily accessible. This need has pushed the automotive industry to embrace the concept of the connected car more actively.”

According to Louw, TomTom’s view is that navigation systems that are able to provide critical live traffic information, as well as incremental map updates in real time, are a key feature of the connected car. This improves the driver’s experience behind the wheel, because being better informed means that motorists can avoid traffic congestion, adapt their driving behavior and get to their destination faster. “As a world leader in maps and GPS navigation, TomTom has been working constantly for almost 25 years, perfecting its map production and distribution processes. With the use of the new Navigation Data Standard (NDS), we are reducing the time between the moment a road modification/incident is captured, and the moment it is pushed to navigation systems from months to days – even seconds in the case of incidents – and we do so without compromising on map quality. This is what real-time mapping is about.” Louw adds. One recent example was a bridge collapse caused by a flash-flood on the I-10 Interstate highway in Southern California: the road was subsequently closed. This road closure showed up almost in real-time in TomTom’s products, which allowed connected drivers to immediately use alternative routes.

Creating a fully connected car is also an important step in achieving a completely automated car that drives itself. While the industry is still a long way off from this capability, TomTom recently concluded a partnership agreement with Bosch to develop Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) that use highly accurate map data to inform drivers about the road ahead. As an example, a car can warn a driver if he is approaching a turn too fast or if he is unintentionally moving out of his lane. These types of features pave the way for Highly Automated Driving (HAD). Some examples of this include Mercedes trucks that are able to drive themselves along certain stretches of highway. More Recently, Audi made driving history when they had a connected concept car successfully drive itself from San Francisco to Las Vegas using high precision TomTom Maps.

Louw concludes, “Anyone can build a basic map and put it on a smartphone, but producing the high-resolution, three-dimensional map data that the automotive industry requires, can only be done by professional navigation companies that collect data not only from aerial and satellite imagery, but also from millions of probes and extensive field surveys. In South Africa as well, cars are getting more and more technologically advanced, with features such as lane assist or adaptive cruise controls becoming standard. TomTom Africa is preparing for that future by already producing high-precision maps of Southern Africa, where clients are welcome to use them for their own applications.”

Winning Comrades Duo Partnered with TomTom to Further Develop Running Performance

Monday, July 27, 2015 11:19
Posted in category Arrive Alive

nikw-plus-white-580x356TomTom in South Africa is pleased to be sponsoring the winning team, Gift Kelehe, 2015 Comrades Marathon winner, and his coach, John Hamlet.

“At TomTom we make products to help people achieve more and we are extremely proud of Gift’s achievement” says TomTom South Africa’s Marketing Manager, Carey Dodd.

Hamlet has been a winning coach and trainer for the past 25 years and during his career has personally coached a variety of athletes who went on to win 45 Comrades Gold medals. He has also been a TomTom Ambassador for a number of years and his athletes including Kelehe have been training with TomTom Cardio GPS Watches. Hamlet believes that the data collected from the TomTom Runner Cardio Kelehe wore for the duration of the 2015 Comrades Marathon, will provide valuable performance insights for his team.

Kelehe ran the near 90 km race in 5 hours and 38 minutes; and burnt over 7,000 calories to clinch his win. Maintaining an incredible average pace of 3 minutes and 49 seconds per km, Kelehe’s performance overall was smart and steady. The data collected revealed Kelehe’s performance at specific locations along the race route, and how the changing topography not only affected his heart rate, but pace and speed as well. “It was a vital part of our running strategy that Gift kept at a steady pace and heart rate, to ensure that he did not peak too early and would be able to have something left in the bag for the finish,” Hamlet adds.

According to Dodd, “To be a small part of such a phenomenal success is a privilege and we will continue to support the team on the road, all the way to future Comrades victory!”

TomTom shows support for small business by partnering with the National Small Business Chamber

Monday, March 9, 2015 9:21
Posted in category Arrive Alive, Technology

TomTom live traffic

Johannesburg, 3rd March 2015 – TomTom Africa is proud to announce that it has partnered with the National Small Business Chamber (NSBC) to supply approximately 75 000 members with location services, including an Address Validation Tool and “Put Your Business On The Map”.  This re-enforces the support TomTom is giving to small business growth in Africa.

Small businesses in South Africa make up a large percentage of the commercial sector and contribute significantly to the local communities as well as ensuring economic growth for the country.

Small businesses will have greater visibility thanks to TomTom validating their address information.  “This will assist customers in finding these businesses via a business locator on the TomTom App or any of the TomTom portable navigation devices (PND’s)”, commented TomTom Africa General Manager, Etienne Louw.  Mike Anderson, NSBC Founder and CEO added: “TomTom plays a pivotal role in enhancing the visibility of small businesses throughout South Africa. Through their powerful business geo-locator, small businesses can now help their customers and potential customers find them quickly and easily. The NSBC in partnership with TomTom has a vision to ‘put every small business on the map’. In this way we can grow local small business, build local communities, drive job creation and ultimately build the nation”.

Founded by NSBC and Nedbank, the first Friday in Spring every year has been declared ‘Small Business Friday’ which encourages all South African’s to interact with and support small business on a daily basis and particularly every Friday.

With support from the community, small business will grow and sustain people through job creation.  At the same time harvesting the entrepreneurial spirit and reducing unemployment.

The My Business Expo at Gallagher Convention Centre will be hosting small businesses through pertinent seminars such as the Small Business Start-up Zone and various start-up Expo Exhibitors.   Join us at the My Business Expo on 12th March 2015 at Gallagher Estate where TomTom will literally be putting small businesses on the map!

University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute Study finds TomTom Live Traffic to be best in traffic jams

Friday, October 11, 2013 11:34
Posted in category Arrive Alive, Safety

Michigan, Oct 10, 2013 (BUSINESS WIRE) — An independent benchmarking study, published on Monday, into the accuracy of traffic jam information provided by after-market navigation systems in the U.S. has concluded that TomTom’s iPhone Navigation App and GO 2535 Portable Navigation Device provide the most accurate real-time traffic data, when compared to a number of competing products.

The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) undertook a ‘jam hunt analysis’, using six popular mobile apps and GPS devices to analyze the accuracy in reporting traffic congestion and incident data. TomTom achieved the highest scores by accurately identifying the most jams and having the lowest error rate compared to the competition.

“By driving through the same traffic jams with each device simultaneously, our study identified the accuracy of each GPS system in reporting congestion, with varying results across the board,” said Bruce M. Belzowski, Assistant Research Scientist from the University of Michigan. “Overall, TomTom’s device and app reported the most accurate traffic information.”

The ‘stuck in traffic’* study concluded**:

— TomTom’s GO 2535 PND and Mobile App 67% and 66% of all jams accurately, compared to 52% for Google, 38% for Inrix. The Garmin navigation devices tested reported 22% and 4% of jams accurately.

— TomTom also achieved the highest score (76%) when looking specifically at jams on highways. TomTom reported 86% of large highway jams accurately and did not miss any of the measured jams in this category.

“The findings from The University of Michigan’s study clearly show that TomTom Traffic devices provide drivers with more precise traffic information, enabling faster journeys, more accurate arrival times, and an overall smarter navigation experience,” said Charles Cautley, Managing Director of TomTom Automotive.

Full details of the study can be found at: http://umtri.umich.edu/what-were-doing/news/umtri-report-analyzes-real-time-traffic-capabilities-personal-navigation

*full name of the project is: “Stuck in Traffic: Analyzing Real Time Traffic Capabilities of Personal Navigation Devices and Traffic Phone Applications”

**The total number of jams identified and measured in the study was approximately 165.

Additional info on Study:

Methodology: the field work for the study was conducted during the months of May-July, 2013 in the Detroit metropolitan area.

UMTRI used the most recent versions of the PNDs and apps available during early May, 2013. The following devices were used:

— TomTom PND: GO LIVE 2535M

— Garmin PND: NUVI 1690 (SIM), NUVI 3490 (HD), NUVI 1695 (SIM) and NUVI 3590 (HD).

— TomTom App: Version 1.14

— Google App: Version 1.1.6

— Inrix App: Version 4.5.1

The Jam Hunt Analysis

The jam hunt analysis was performed by equipping two field vehicles with all of the navigation devices and apps listed above. Each vehicle then drove through a total of approximately 165 traffic jams. The information reported on each system was recorded on video and coded into statistics on the accuracy of each real time traffic service. For the purpose of the study, traffic jams were defined as events which:

1. delays the driver 90 seconds or more while en route to his destination and

2. the vehicle’s speed is reduced to half or less of the posted speed limit.

About TomTom

Founded in 1991, TomTom (TOM2) is a leading provider of navigation and location-based products and services.

TomTom maps, traffic information and navigation technology power automotive in-dash systems, mobile devices, web based applications and government and business solutions.

TomTom also designs and manufactures its own location-based products including portable navigation devices and fleet management solutions, as well as GPS-enabled sports watches.

Headquartered in Amsterdam, TomTom has 3,500 employees worldwide and sells its products in over 35 countries.

For further information, please visit www.tomtom.com

About UMTRI

Founded in 1965, the Transportation Research Institute at The University of Michigan is committed to interdisciplinary research that will ultimately increase driving safety and further transportation systems knowledge. UMTRI’s research significantly impacts highway transportation practice, in the United States and internationally. We have been involved with stakeholders and peers in the long-term development and evolution of research programs, as well as in the conduct of specific studies within those programs. UMTRI maintains a strong commitment to safety research while also embracing new opportunities in mobility and sustainability.

For further information, please visit www.umtri.umich.edu

TomTom Introduces New Navigation Engine – NavKit

Monday, April 22, 2013 10:28
Posted in category Arrive Alive, Products, Safety

~ NavKit will power next-generation products across TomTom’s entire business ~

South Africa, April 2013 – TomTom today launches its new navigation engine, NavKit. It will power all future TomTom navigation products and will be available for licensing to automotive and enterprise customers.

The NavKit navigation engine offers new levels of flexibility. The configurable component architecture has been designed to enable rapid integration. NavKit has programming interfaces for adding a customised user interface, porting to any operating system and integrating navigation services. As a result, the development of a connected navigation system on any device platform becomes far quicker and simpler.

The new NavKit engine incorporates all the navigation logic of an on-board turn-by-turn navigation application. Every element has been enhanced to deliver an improved user experience including route planning, free text search, 2D map browsing and 3D guidance view, map-matched positioning and real-time guidance.

“The automotive industry’s next challenge is to create a seamless connected car experience” says Harold Goddijn, CEO at TomTom. “To help our customers achieve this, we created NavKit, a flexible, future-proof navigation platform. NavKit makes the creation of connected navigation solutions easier and faster than ever before.”

NavKit’s architecture will allow customers and industry partners to replace components in a modular way. Its new routing engine achieves faster and more accurate dynamic routing, both on TomTom’s maps and on the new industry-standard Navigation Data Standard (NDS) maps*. Additionally, it provides better routes around traffic and fully supports TomTom Traffic, Version 6.0, including incident duration predictions and jam tail warnings. The new free text search engine provides easier and faster address and POI search. A new map visualisation engine greatly improves 2D map browsing and introduces an innovative 3D guidance view.

NavKit has been developed according to the highest standards and is regularly assessed by TIOBE**.

The first commercial product powered by NavKit is the TomTom GO, also announced today. For more information please visit www.tomtom.com/launch

* Full NavKit NDS support will come later this year / beginning next year.

** based on ISO/IEC 25010:2011

Additional Info:

PRICING AND AVAILABILITY NOT AVAILABLE: PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS A GLOBAL RELEASE AND THESE PRODUCTS WILL ONLY BE AVAILABLE IN SOUTH AFRICA IN Q4 (OCTOBER) OF 2013.

Features of NavKit

  • Free text search engine: Provides drivers with free text search and suggestions across addresses and POIs, supports also POI category synonyms, abbreviations and special characters.
  • Fast and exact route planning: NavKit plans a route faster and more accurately than standard routing techniques, by using an advanced routing technology based on pre-calculated routes.
  • 3D Maps: Provides drivers with a 3D view of their route, optionally including 3D city models and 3D landmarks, optimising their driving experience.
  • Advanced alternative routes: NavKit suggests better alternative routes around traffic and fully supports TomTom Traffic Version 6.0, including incident duration prediction.
  • IQ Routes: Drivers will know the best route for the time of day, thanks to TomTom’s extensive GPS probe data coverage.
  • Itinerary management: Routes with waypoints can be stored, edited and deleted. This enables users to manage itineraries and reuse routes that they have previously created.
  • Pinch to Zoom: Drivers can use touch screen technology to adjust the zoom level of their map.
  • Map configuration options: OEMs can adjust the appearance of their map to suit their personal preferences. This includes changing the colour of their map, textures, the width of the road and the camera viewpoint.
  • Daily driving assistance: NavKit allows home, recent destinations and favourite destinations to be stored, enabling quick and easy access to these destinations. If the driver hasn’t set a destination, TomTom will still advise on the traffic situation around the driver’s current position.
  • LIVE Services: Provides drivers with instant road information when they need it. Includes Traffic 6.0, TomTom Places and Safety Alerts.
  • Map Share: Free daily map changes from the Map Share community. Includes dynamic changes such as blocked roads and new speed limits.
  • NavKit SDK: Provides documentation, interface specifications, tutorials and a complete navigation UI including source code to provide application developers with the tools to implement their own connected navigation application. A new NavKit SDK is released every quarter. Companies interested in using NavKit can request an evaluation license to get access to the latest SDK.

About TomTom

Founded in 1991, TomTom (TOM2) is a leading provider of navigation and location-based products and services. TomTom maps, traffic information and navigation technology power automotive in-dash systems, mobile devices, web based applications and government and business solutions.

TomTom also designs and manufactures its own location-based products including portable navigation devices and fleet management solutions, as well as GPS-enabled sports watches.

Headquartered in Amsterdam, TomTom has 3,500 employees worldwide and sells its products in over 35 countries.

For further information, please visit www.tomtom.com

Fuel economy and safety brought to you by Tracker Business in partnership with TomTom

Friday, April 19, 2013 13:23
Posted in category Arrive Alive, Safety, Technology

The new TomTom LINK 510 vehicle tracking device helps businesses to contain the rising cost of fuel. The LINK 510 offers greater control over driving efficiency for every car, van or truck by monitoring driver performance, as well as the vehicle’s position and movement.

Fleet owners and commercial vehicle transport companies can use the Link 510 to report fuel consumption, over-revving and fuel levels by utilising a truck’s standard Fleet Management System (FMS) interface. This allows detection of fuel drops and refills and triggers automatic notifications to help managers detect incidences of fuel theft, which has become a growing concern for businesses across the world.

Tracker Business, the sole distributor of TomTom Business in Southern Africa, offers fleet management technology to help manage the risk of scarce resources such as fuel, human capital, time and money more effectively.

“The latest LINK device, developed by our partners, TomTom Business Solutions, highlights our commitment to constant innovation, providing easily implemented products which offer a significant boost to businesses’ bottom line. We provide solutions to help fleet owners Track their drivers and their vehicles, Control their expenses and maximise their profits,” says Michael Van Wyngaardt, Tracker Business Director.

He further said, “The soaring cost of fuel has made it the number one concern for many fleet operators and the LINK 510 builds on Tracker Business and TomTom’s existing product portfolio to give fleet operators even greater power to improve efficiency, monitor driver behaviour and deliver cost savings. We believe that every company that uses vehicles for business will become more profitable by putting the LINK 510 at the heart of their vehicles.”

The slimline device can be quickly installed into any vehicle and works alongside Tracker Business and TomTom’s online fleet management system WEBFLEET® to provide detailed reports on all aspects of vehicle utilization and driver behaviour and has a proven track record in delivering businesses significant efficiency gains and increased billable time of their mobile workforce. Used with a PRO navigation device* it also offers job dispatch, ETA communication and working time management functionality.

Custom features to enhance security and remote vehicle monitoring are made available through integration with the digital inputs and output of the LINK 510.

“Tracker Business is proud to partner with TomTom to bring the best and most efficient solutions to our customers,” concludes Van Wyngaardt.

TomTom Congestion Index Shows Johannesburg is the Most Congested City in South Africa

Friday, April 5, 2013 7:32
Posted in category Arrive Alive, Safety, Technology

~ TomTom’s Annual Congestion Index identifies traffic congestion hot spots across 161 cities around the world and shows Moscow as the most congested city~

Johannesburg, 4 April 2013– TomTom today announces the results of its 2012 Congestion Index, which measures traffic congestion in 161 cities across five continents and compares it to congestion levels in 2011.  The Annual Congestion Index finds that South Africa has an overall congestion level of 25% (therefore, the average journey in congestion will take approximately 25% longer)

On average, journey times in Johannesburg are increased by as much as 30% and a delay of 43 minutes can be expected when driving in peak periods.  TomTom’s Congestion Index, including individual continent and city reports, can be found at www.tomtom.com/congestionindex.

TomTom’s Congestion Index is the world’s most accurate barometer of congestion in urban areas. The Index is uniquely based on real travel time data captured by vehicles driving the entire road network. TomTom’s traffic database contains over six trillion data measurements and is growing by five billion measurements every day.

The top ten most congested global cities, ranked by overall Congestion Level, in 2012 are:

  1. Moscow 66%
  2. Istanbul 55%
  3. Warsaw 42%
  4. Marseille 40%
  5. Palermo 39%
  1. Los Angeles 33%
  2. Sydney 33%
  3. Stuttgart 33%
  4. Paris 33%
  5. Rome 33%

In comparison to the 2012 Congestion Index, levels have decreased. This decline can mainly be attributed to continuous road improvements:

Area 2011 2012
Johannesburg 32% 30%
Cape Town 27% 26%
Pretoria * 26%
East Rand North * 25%
East Rand South * 23%
Durban 16% 18%

*These cities/towns were not measured in the 2012 survey

“TomTom’s Annual Congestion Index provides accurate insight into the world’s most congested cities, said Daan Henderickx, Country Manager from TomTom South Africa. “This detailed knowledge of the entire road network, helps businesses and governments make more informed decisions about how best to tackle and avoid congestion. TomTom’s world-class traffic information also helps drivers get to their destinations faster.  Significantly, when used on a large scale, TomTom Traffic has the potential to ease congestion in cities and urban areas by routing drivers away from congested areas”

Notes to Editor

About the TomTom Congestion Index

The methodology used in the Congestion Index compares measured travel times during non-congested periods (free flow) with travel times in peak hours. The difference is expressed as a percentage increase in travel time. The Index takes into account local roads, arterials, as well as highways. All data is based on actual GPS based measurements.

As well as assigning and ranking the overall congestion levels of over 161 cities around the world, the report analyses the congestion levels in cities at different times of the day and on different days of the week. TomTom analysed capital cities as well as cities with a population of over 800,000. In addition, a selection of key cities with smaller populations was included based on their regional importance to the transportation network. The purpose of adding these smaller cities was to provide a better understanding of congestion levels within individual countries.

Individual city reports include more detailed information such as the most congested day, time delay per year for commuters and congestion levels on main and secondary roads.

Separate European, North American, Australia/New Zealand and South Africa Congestion Index reports are available.

To download the Congestion Index reports, go to www.tomtom.com/congestionindex .

TomTom Hands Free Car Kit for smartphones

Tuesday, February 5, 2013 13:42
Posted in category Arrive Alive, Products, Voices

South Africa;– TomTom today launches the TomTom Hands Free Car Kit for smartphones with the highest quality audio for loud and clear hands-free calling and navigation. The new Car Kit features an advanced noise and echo cancellation system, which dramatically reduces background noise for the caller and removes ambient noise for the driver.
New mounting options make smartphone use on the move safer and more convenient. The newly designed Car Kit has an adjustable grip to fit any smartphone with or without its cover. An extendable microphone can be clipped to the sun visor to ensure conversations are louder and clearer.
“The new Car Kit has been designed for safety and convenience,” said Daan Henderickx Country Manager for TomTom South Africa. “With fantastic audio quality and new mounting options, we are making it easier and safer for drivers to make calls and use navigation applications on the move. With advanced new features, our aim is to help drivers keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.”

The TomTom Hands Free Car Kit comes in two versions to support iPhone and micro USB compatible smartphones such as Android phones with the possibility to automatically pair two mobile devices simultaneously. When connected via Bluetooth®, voice recognition functionality can be activated; enabling drivers to navigate and dial without taking their hands from the wheel.
A video providing an overview of TomTom Hands Free Car Kit can be found here
Availability

The TomTom Hands Free Car Kit is available through local retailers at a recommended retail price of R 1 099.

Daily map changes include the more dynamic, frequent changes that drivers are likely to encounter such as:

  • Changed speed limits
  • New street names
  • Blocked roads
  • New traffic directions
  • Altered turn restrictions

Drivers have control over which daily map changes they load onto their device. They can choose to accept changes submitted by some or many other Map Share users, or only those verified by TomTom.

About TomTom

Founded in 1991, TomTom (AEX:TOM2) is the world’s leading supplier of in-car  location and navigation products and services focused on providing all drivers with the world’s best navigation experience. Headquartered in Amsterdam, TomTom has over 3,500 employees and sells its products in over 40 countries.

Our products include portable navigation devices, in-dash infotainment systems, fleet management solutions, maps and real-time services, including the award winning TomTom HD Traffic.

For the world’s most up-to-date route planner, including live traffic information go to www.tomtom.com/livetraffic

For further information, please visit www.tomtom.com

Nike adds new watch to Nike+ SportWatch line

Thursday, October 11, 2012 7:35
Posted in category Products, Safety

The Nike+ SportWatch GPS wristwatches have been around for a while. This watch is a tie up between athletic shoemaker Nike and GPS company TomTom. The product allows athletes to track all sorts of metrics about their run. TomTom and Nike have unveiled a new addition to the launch lineup.

Previously, the company offered black & anthracite, black & blue, black & volt, and volt & black colors. The lineup now has a white & silver version runners can choose. The watch has a highly visible backlit LCD display that shows all sorts of information to the wearer while they are running.

The available metrics the watch can show include time, average and instantaneous pace, and distance run. The GPS features of the watch that are powered by TomTom offer motivational details to help enhance the running experience, including run reminders and messages to help inspire users before and after runs. The watch allows users to collect the details during their run and then share the details back via the Nike+ community.

Wearers who don’t care for any of the colors Nike has in its standard Nike+ SportWatch line can get an exclusive color combination that is available only at Best Buy. The Best Buy exclusive version of the watch is black and red. Both the new white & silver and the black and red version are available for pre-order right now at $169 and $149 respectively.

[Slashgear.com]

Berlin Traffic Information Centre partner with TomTom to improve traffic flow

Saturday, August 18, 2012 8:41
Posted in category Arrive Alive, Products

TomTom announced a 10-year partnership withVMZ Berlin, the operator of Berlin’s Traffic Information Centre. TomTom will provide VMZ Berlin with real-time traffic information for Berlin and for selected parts of the State of Brandenburg. By using TomTom’s highly accurate HD Flow traffic product, traffic management in Berlin can react faster to traffic congestion and improve traffic information for citizens, enterprises and media.

“Our market-leading traffic information is the future of traffic management,” said Ralf-Peter Schäfer, Head of TomTom Traffic Product Unit. “Working together, VMZ Berlin and TomTom will tackle the difficult traffic issues, ultimately saving drivers in Berlin and Brandenburg time and money.”

“We chose TomTom because its traffic product offers coverage that extends beyond traditional methods of traffic detection, such as loopscameras or infrared sensors,” said Reinhard Giehler, Managing Director VMZ Berlin.  “We believe that traffic flow and road network utilization in the region will be significantly improved by TomTom’s accurate and up-to-date information.”

TomTom HD Flow delivers speed information for all main roads so that traffic flow can be visualised and evaluated to assess true travel times for the entire road network.  VMZ uses this information to provide strategic traffic management to Berlin and parts of Brandenburg, including the corridor leading to and from the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport BBI.   The traffic service also can be found on the website www.viz-info.de, and it is free of charge to the public.