German Automakers Buy Mapmaker, Maybe for Robot Cars

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole

Audi, BMW and Daimler have joined forces to buy map-making company Here from phone-maker Nokia for an undisclosed amount, the automakers announced Monday.

The purchase of the company, which provides cloud-based maps and location services to more than 200 countries, could help the automakers develop further technology for autonomous cars that use the crowd-sourced maps instead of unreliable and outdated humans to steer.

In a statement announcing the purchase, the automakers said the company would be jointly held by all three automakers and would operate independently from the consortium. Pending approval, the sale would become final early next year.

The automakers hinted that the mapmaking company and the cars could work together by relaying traffic or road conditions from each car to a centralized server that could redistribute the information to other cars. So-called “swarm technology” would help other drivers avoid accidents or icy roads.

”HERE will be able to offer users a continuously improving product, bringing highly automated driving and location based services a step further. As the volume of anonymized data from the vehicles increases, services will become more convenient, more connected and further tailored to the users’ individual requirements,” the automakers said in the statement.

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  • Gpolak Gpolak on Aug 03, 2015

    Car companies build a car stereos that can be hacked to take over the transmission and we're supposed to trust them with self-driving tech?

  • HerrKaLeun HerrKaLeun on Aug 04, 2015

    On my android phone I use Google maps and love it. It just works well. I have "here" and only use it when there is no internet connection because it has a downloaded map. I really hate "Here". It is slower, it has a harder time to find where I'm , it can't deal well with changes of driving (like i decide to miss a turn), it can't figure out easily which direction I'm going when I start (Google uses the same GPS of my phone and just knows). the first thin I do when I get in an area with Internet is to find my way with google and ditch "Here". The only feature that "Here"has is the speed limit warning (95% of the time it knows the correct speed limit... obviously this may not help). Oh, and it is free. If Google ever wants to kill Here, all they need to offer is downloadable maps and the speedlimit warning. Not sure if the app still will be free. I only would miss "Here" for the free offline capability.

    • Mcs Mcs on Aug 04, 2015

      The "Here" speed warning isn't quite "there" yet (I couldn't resist). I have it on my cars built-in nav system. I was on Vermont Rt 4 just east of Woodstock Vt. I hit either a 30 or 35 zone and it was indicating a 50 mph speed limit. If the car was in autonomous mode and using 'Here" for the speed limit source, it could have gotten itself arrested. For Google Maps offline capability instructions, just go to the apps Tips and Tricks section. It's the first item on the list.

  • Mike1dog Mike1dog on Aug 04, 2015

    Most news stories say they paid about $3 billion for Here.

  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Aug 04, 2015

    They can do a South American version called AQUI.