Amazon and Microsoft are reportedly in talks to bring their cloud-computing expertise to digital mapper Here, a business with ambitions to develop self-driving cars.
BMW, Audi and Daimler bought Here from Nokia for €2.8bn last year. Now, sources have told Reuters that both Amazon and Microsoft are keen on partnering with the digital mapping business, with the former also said to want to take a stake in the firm.
The article goes on to report that Amazon “would take a stake as part of a broader deal to lock them in as a provider of cloud computing services," while Microsoft is keen to develop “closer ties” to the digital mapper.
Here needs cloud-computing expertise to manage the vast amounts of data collected from the sensors it has on thousands of Mercedes, BMW and Audi cars. The maps would allow cars to avoid traffic autonomously as well as overcome hazards such as ice.
The digital mapping outfit is reportedly in negotiations with potential new backers from both carmakers and technology suppliers. A broader and longer roster of partners would allow Here’s organisers to spread its costs more evenly, while also quickening the rollout of its offering.
The interest in Here shows how significant a robust mapping capability will be to those businesses looking to secure a share of the autonomous vehicle space. Uber is expanding its mapping business alongside the growth of its self-driving capability for example, while TomTom has recently tied with Bosch to develop road maps for self-driving vehicles.