In the race for the development of autonomous cars, the digital mapping business is a crucial one and more and more investors are interested to take part.
Audi, BMW and Mercedes bought last year Nokia’s digital mapping and location business HERE. The negotiations for the purchase began last August and concluded in December with the Swedish phone manufacturer selling HERE for approximately 2.55 billion euros (2.8 billion dollars). The three giant German automakers acquired it, as there were concerns that the technology might be bought by some tech company that could monopolize the whole industry. One of the main reasons behind the high interest shown by carmakers in digital mapping is that maps are playing a crucial role in the forthcoming autonomous technologies. Now, the consortium seeks to expand further, as it is currently in talks with potential new members, Daimler’s Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche told Reuters in an interview.
More partners in the business would mean more investments and lower costs for all parties involved and would also speed up the development of the technology by gathering more traffic information from more cars. “If there are individual companies that are already raising their finger, then this is fast and pleasing”, Zetsche said. “I do not think it will take very long until the first company gives a binding commitment to join.” Renault-Nissan and Continental supplier were among those interested in taking part in the mapping business, the companies announced last week, but “interest will not only be limited to them,” Zetsche added. “It is clear that we want to aggressively expand this platform, we will make the means available to do this,” he concluded.