Amazon, Microsoft may buy stakes in HERE to support self-driving cars

Amazon, Microsoft may buy stakes in HERE to support self-driving cars

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Germany: If all goes by the plan, then Amazon.com and Microsoft may supply cloud computing to mapping business HERE. The news was confirmed by sources who also said that Amazon is considering of becoming a shareholder in HERE.

HERE, that is owned by a group of German carmakers developing self-driving cars, bought the mapping firm last year in a 2.5 billion euro ($2.85 billion) deal. The need for the intelligent mapping system has become necessary to supply information to control self-driving cars.

According to a source, “Amazon would take a stake as part of a broader deal to lock them in as a provider of cloud computing services.”

"Microsoft is also interested in closer ties to HERE," another source familiar with the talks said.

Both Microsoft and Amazon did not entertain requests to comment on the issue. And likewise, Audi, the premium brand owned by Volkswagen, Daimler – the parent company of Mercedes-Benz – and BMW have declined to comment on talks with potential new partners.

Despite that, the consortium needs cloud computing providers to manage the mountains of data collected from sensors on thousands of Mercedes, BMW and Audi cars. These digital maps allow cars to avoid traffic jams or hazards such as ice.

"The new owners Audi, Daimler and BMW have said from the start that they are open for new partners to join," BMW said in a statement. "We have noticed that there is lots of interest not only from potential partners from within the automotive industry, but also from other sectors."

The consortium has started negotiations with potential new partners, including both rival carmakers and potential technology suppliers.

Having more carmakers on board will 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.

According to one report by Exane BNP Paribas, the self-driving and connected car services could become a $50 billion market.

Source: Reuters