Well it’s official. Audi, BMW and Daimler are putting competition to the side and joining forces to buy Nokia’s mapping service, Nokia Here.
Nokia Here, the most advanced digital map of the world’s major road networks, will be essential to autonomous vehicles getting around and automakers know it. Extremely precise digital maps will be used in combination with real-time vehicle data in order to increase road safety and to facilitate innovative new products and services. They’ll also be used for location-based services that find nearby restaurants or parking garages, or to book hotels and other services that turn the data generated by the car into profits.
“Our environment is constantly changing. That’s why the information in digital maps has to be continually updated so that maximum utility can be offered,” stated Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG. The high-precision cameras and sensors installed in modern cars are the digital eyes for updating mobility data and maps; in this way, information such as speed limits or critical driving situations are already recognized today. All data gained will be processed in compliance with strict data-protection rules.
“HERE will play a key role in the digital revolution of mobility, combining high definition maps and data from vehicles to make travel safer and easier for everyone,” explained Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG.
This knowledge will be to the benefit of all carmakers and their customers. “High-precision digital maps are a crucial component of the mobility of the future. With the joint acquisition of HERE, we want to secure the independence of this central service for all vehicle manufacturers, suppliers and customers in other industries,” stated Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG.
These automakers have a vested interested in obtaining the technology before it falls into the hands of the already all-mighty Google, which is testing its autonomous cars in California and Texas, Apple or even ride-sharing service Uber.
The three partners will each hold an equal stake in HERE, and none of them seeks to acquire a majority interest. Subject to the approval of the relevant antitrust authorities, the transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016.
Photo Credit: Nokia