German automakers need Nokia’s HERE to battle Google’s autonomous project image

Mapping services are gradually becoming a battlefield for the upcoming autonomous segment, with the auto industry bracing for an expected revolution in the business across the automotive sector.

The most recent news surrounding the autonomous field has to do with Nokia’s reported decision to divest its HERE mapping business unit – with potential interested parties ranging from well-known San Francisco-based ride-sharing service provider Uber Technologies to German luxury automakers. The latter, namely BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz are getting ready to issue a formal offer to jointly acquire Nokia’s well-developed mapping division – which could be valued by the parent company anywhere between two and three billion euros. The end game – expand their own autonomous projects with one of the most accurate mapping services on the planet and the underlying performance would actually go two ways – they could successfully fend off Google’s own mapping service (and its associated costs) and its self-driving project.

One of the bigger worries surrounding the traditional carmakers that want a piece of the upcoming driverless sector is that one day Google might open up its autonomous project by creating an open-source operating system for the driverless cars, much akin to the mobile operating software that forms the basis of the Android ecosystem. The German automakers are so interested in the Here service that are reportedly even asking the help of Chinese Internet giant Baidu, which would support their bid in exchange for a minority holding. The latter already has an ongoing business partnership with Here, the mapping service offering the underlying power for Baidu’s maps outside China.

Via Forbes