A trio of German carmakers has pooled together to purchase the HERE mapping program from technology company Nokia for €2.8 billion (AU$4.2 billion).
Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler are the new owners with each taking an equal share. The group plans to use Here as a platform for (among other things) locational, interactive and self-driven technologies.
Here’s existing attributes are viewed as important tools for the advancement of autonomous vehicles, including near-comprehensive mapping data and instant traffic data systems.
In a joint statement, the trio outlined the advantages they saw in the Here mapping program.
“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,” BMW’s Harald Krüger said.
Audi’s Rupert Stadler said the ability for Here maps to be constantly updated ensured the program would be flexible enough for autonomous vehicles, and would complement the camera and sensor systems that self-driven cars already rely on.
Daimler’s Dieter Zetsche added: “high-precision digital maps are a crucial component of the mobility of the future”.
Aside from autonomous cars, the group predict Here could lend itself to a range of new products and services for customers, including brand-specific services based on raw data.
The trio also state that Here will remain independent despite the new ownership arrangement, and that other carmakers are welcome to use the service which offers maps for 200 countries in more than 50 languages.
The deal is expected to be finalised by the end of the first quarter next year.
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