HERE, formerly an activity of telecommunications systems provider Nokia, has been jointly acquired by carmakers Audi, BMW and Daimler to generate and provide highly exact real-time street maps that enable self-driving vehicles to orientate themselves. The idea is storing the data generated by the vehicle’s sensors and related to traffic situation and road conditions in the cloud and share them among other vehicles in real-time.
"Amazon would take a stake as part of a broader deal to lock them in as a provider of cloud computing services," one source familiar with the talks told Reuters. "Microsoft is also interested in closer ties to HERE," another source familiar with the talks said. Microsoft declined to comment. Amazon did not respond to requests to comment. So did the three current owner companies. At earlier opportunities they however had aired their intention to establish HERE as an open platform; they also said they are open for new partners to join. The consortium has started negotiations with potential new partners, including both rival carmakers and potential technology suppliers. Having more carmakers on board would spread the cost of investments required to develop the digital mapping business, and could improve the volume of data about traffic information being fed into the map database from vehicles on the road.
So far, Renault and automotive supplier Continental have both expressed interest. Continental said on Thursday a decision on whether to buy a stake in HERE would be made within the next few months. Ford is also among the companies interested in taking a stake in the HERE consortium, a third auto industry source said on Thursday. The carmaker however declined to comment.