Here Mapping Consortium Plans for Expansion

audi-here.jpgThe group of German car makers who purchased Nokias Here mapping technology may soon be welcoming new members into its consortium, expanding the scope of how the digital mapping solution is deployed and utilised.

The consortium currently consists of Daimler, Audi and BMW, but both Renault-Nissan and auto supplier Continental have noted an interest in taking a stake in the group. The original consortium purchased Here in August 2015 for €2.5bn (£1.93bn), beating several other interested parties including Uber.

“If there are individual companies that are already raising their finger, then this is fast and pleasing,” said Dieter Zetsche, chief executive of Daimler, speaking to Reuters. “I do not thing it will take very long until the first company gives a binding commitment to join.”

While Here is currently being deployed as a straight-forward mapping and navigation tool across a variety of platforms, as an intelligent mapping system it could be used as the basis for a self-driving car network, enabling connected cars to recalculate routes during traffic jams or accidents.

However, in order to make the leap to self-driving cars, Here requires additional investments, and spreading the cost among a wider number of auto manufacturers could be the key to this. As an additional benefit, wider adoption of Heres mapping technology would improve the volume of live traffic information being fed into the system from cars on the road.

The consortiums deal with Nokia only finalised in December, so the group is clearly aggressively seeking expansion, and many industry analysts think it represents the auto industrys best chance of competing with tech giants like Google and Apple when it comes to developing a self-driving car network.