German automakers Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz have apparently agreed to jointly pay a little over $2.7 billion for Nokia’s Here mapping division as they look to control one of the key enabling technologies for self-driving cars.
If a deal is struck the German automakers plan to invite other companies such as Fiat-Chrysler, Renault, Ford, Toyota and General Motors to invest in Here and further develop it for automotive mapping purposes.
Nokia Here is already the leading maps provider to the global auto industry for infotainment and navigation services. In 2014, nearly half of Here’s $1060 revenue was earned from sales to the auto industry.
Traditional automakers feared that if Here fell into the hands of either Google, Uber or Apple, they would lose control over the information systems within their own cars, and would be forced to adopt ones built by say Google.
Just last week, TomTom and Bosch announced that they would work together to develop high-definition digital maps for automakers, but that isn’t going to be available until at least 2020.