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Audi, BMW, Daimler buy Nokia's Here Digital Mapping Business

5 Août 2015 - Autoblog

Audi, BMW, Daimler buy Nokia's Here Digital Mapping Business

The fight for control of Nokia's Here digital mapping service appears to have drawn to a close as a consortium of German automakers has announced a deal to jointly acquire the business from the Finnish telecom giant.

As anticipated, ownership in Here will now be taken over jointly by Audi, BMW, and Daimler, beating out reported rivals bids from the likes of Apple and Uber.

Here is one of the largest and most advanced digital mapping and location systems. It started out in Chicago in 1986 as Navteq before Nokia acquired it in 2007, and is now slated to change ownership again. The cloud-based service maintains high-definition digital maps for nearly 200 countries and supports over 50 languages, gathering data from users to update the data continuously.

Rather than transition the service into their own proprietary technology, however, the automakers insist that it will remain open "to all customers from the automotive industry and other sectors." Ownership will be shared equally between the three companies, with "none of them seek[ing] to acquire a majority interest" in Here. For another, Here's management is promised to remain independent, and "the consortium will not interfere into operational business." Though the purchase price has not been disclosed, it is rumored to be worth in the neighborhood of $2.7 billion. Assuming it passes regulatory approval, the acquisition is slated to be completed in the first quarter of next year.

The German automakers anticipate implementing the service to provide connected vehicles with accurate, up-to-date information on road and other conditions. Examples it outlines include warning other drivers of icy conditions based on outside temperature and ABS activation. It could also warn drivers of impending traffic jams, or even guide traffic through green lights in an urban environment. In the future, the highly detailed maps are envisioned to enable fully automated driving as well.

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