By on August 3, 2015


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the automakers develop further technology for autonomous cars that use the crowd-sourced maps instead of unreliable and outdated humans to steer.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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18 Comments on “German Automakers Buy Mapmaker, Maybe for Robot Cars...”

  • avatar

    Maybe so they don’t have to kneel before Google or Apple.

  • avatar

    “autonomous cars that use the crowd-sourced maps … to steer”

    Oh, yeah, that sounds like a *fantastic* idea.

  • avatar

    It will go the way of all the other Nokia assets spun off – to the dumpster.

  • avatar

    It’s been said before and I’ll say it again – the model for autonomous cars is here and has been fully developed by aviation. Driving will evolve with navigational aids and multiple levels of automation, but authority and control will remain with the driver. Thus, people can be blamed for, and accept responsibility for, any and all accidents in addition to exercising the sort of judgments that are second-nature to humans and prohibitive in machines.

    If you’ve never read an aviation accident report AND you expect to continue operating motor vehicles, I recommend that you read at least one ASAP. If you’re lazy (or still interested), watch the youtube video “children of the magenta line”. In any case, THAT’s a much more accurate picture of what’s coming than the science fiction fantasy causing hysterics around the web.

  • avatar

    Isn’t “Here” just the new name for Navteq? I suspect it could be something as boring as the automakers banding together so they don’t have to pay Navteq for nav-system data anymore.

    I mean, if it was really about some remarkable new technology, buying an operation mostly known for raw map data isn’t the way to get it.

    • 0 avatar

      The German bigwigs aren’t too keen on a future where the mechanicals of a car is commoditized, and the only differentiation is in the techbling. Which is generally developed and owned in other places.

    • 0 avatar

      Bingo. Why pay licensing fees for the software when you can just buy the whole company. Plus now you can own the data and sort thru it. Find out where your customers eat, shop, work, etc. Sell this data (since you own it now). Profit!

  • avatar
    Greg Locock

    The Truth About Rewriting Press Releases:

    ” for an undisclosed amount” whereas two seconds of googling reveals the price “The consortium of Daimler (DAIGn.DE) BMW (BMWG.DE) and Volkswagen’s (VOWG_p.DE) premium division Audi (NSUG.DE), has agreed to pay close to 2.9 billion euros ($3.2 billion)”

  • avatar

    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?

  • avatar

    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.

    • 0 avatar

      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.

  • avatar

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

  • avatar

    They can do a South American version called AQUI.

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