Automakers looking for help with mapping services platform

April 7, 2016

“The auto industry is doing all it can to prevent the car from becoming just another smartphone on wheels,” writes William Boston in The Wall Street Journal. To retain control of their core product, he adds, German automakers Daimler, Audi, and BMW teamed up last year to acquire mapping and location-services company HERE, based in Berlin.

A driver of the initiative is to remain independent of Silicon Valley, Boston writes, but the companies are looking a little farther north to Amazon and Microsoft in an effort to expand the HERE platform. In particular, the automakers are looking to partner on cloud-computing services and big-data analytics to handle the wealth of data (about road conditions and parking, for example) that connected cars can generate.

Boston quotes Thomas Weber, a Daimler board member in charge of research and development, as saying, “We are talking to Amazon, Microsoft and many auto makers. We need a cloud provider to handle the huge amounts of data created by HERE and its users. We haven’t taken any decisions yet.”

The automakers are leery of teaming up with Google, as they fear they would lost control of data produced by cars and their users, Boston adds.

HERE, Google Maps, and TomTom are the top three leaders in mapping services.

For its part, HERE announced last month at the Mobile World Congress that it has extended its technology collaboration to Samsung’s new connected car ecosystem.

HERE will make its REST APIs for maps, geocoder, and traffic, among others, available to third-party developers via the Samsung connected car ecosystem. Developers will be able create location-enabled applications and services that pair with a range of connected devices from Samsung, such as the new Samsung Connect Auto. Plugging into the vehicle’s standard diagnostics port, Samsung Connect Auto turns any vehicle into a connected car and enables intelligent features such as driver safety alerts, fuel efficiency monitoring, and field workforce and fleet management for enterprise customers.

“HERE has long been delivering location technologies for the automotive industry. We’re delighted that as part of our technology collaboration, developers will be encouraged to use HERE APIs to build services for our connected car solution,” said Mok Oh, vice president, Service R&D, Mobile Communications Business, at Samsung Electronics.

“We are excited to expand our cooperation with Samsung,” added Bruno Bourguet, senior vice president, sales and business development, at HERE. “Samsung turned to HERE because it wants to give developers access to high-quality map and location services. We have compiled our map data to meet the exacting standards of the automotive industry, and are pleased that it will now be accessible for developers working with connected devices from Samsung.”

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