Germany’s premium triumvirate – BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz – are now very close to securing a deal to purchase Nokia’s Here mapping business unit for 2.5 billion to 3 billion euros ($2.74 billion to $3.29 billion).
The latest report comes from two persons that have knowledge of the matter and spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity on Tuesday – with the sources adding the final agreement signature now depends on answering a key question – who will own the patents regarding autonomous vehicle communication to mobile networks. The Here division, valued at between 2 billion and 4 billion euros, might also include a multi-year plan to expand investments to thoroughly improve the quality of existent map data. According to the two sources familiar with the negotiations, the transaction could be approved by the end of the month if the two parties agree on the intellectual property issues.
Autonomous vehicles, which should be connected in a vast, intelligent network through mobile phone networks, could include intelligent functions such as recalculating a route if data about a traffic jam or an accident is delivered over the air to update in real time the vehicle’s intelligent mapping system. Today, real-time data being processed by driverless cars has reached massive amounts which propelled telecom network infrastructure to a major component of connected cars, also becoming a sticky point in related negotiations, according to several auto industry sources. Analysts believe the emerging autonomous and connected vehicle services could grow exponentially alongside usage, transforming itself into a $50 billion market within the near future.