Intel buys 15pc stake in Here to develop autonomous car mapping tech

4 Jan 2017

View of Berlin. Image: AR Pictures/Shutterstock

Intel has become the latest investor in the mapping and location software firm Here, purchasing a 15pc stake to develop the company’s autonomous car tech.

Once owned by telecoms giant Nokia, Here was sold to a number of major German auto manufacturers back in 2015 for a sum of €2.5bn, as part of a future of connected cars and, more specifically, autonomous vehicles.

Now Intel is getting in on the action, with news that the chip manufacturer is to purchase a 15pc stake in Here as part of a shared technology agreement.

This would appear to follow on from Intel’s announcement in November that it had plans to invest $250m in autonomous vehicle tech over the course of the next two years.

As part of the deal, both companies will jointly develop highly scalable proof-of-concept architecture to support real-time updates of HD maps for highly and fully automated driving, and also to explore opportunities in IoT and machine learning.

The end goal of this project will be to make autonomous driving as safe and predictable as possible, and increase a car’s understanding of its location, narrowing metres down to centimetres.

Follows Chinese investment

Intel’s decision to purchase a significant stake in Here follows just over a week after a joint bid from Asia’s Tencent, NavInfo and GIC, which saw the trio purchase a 10pc stake in the company to allow it expand into the Chinese market.

“A real-time, self-healing and HD representation of the physical world is critical for autonomous driving, and achieving this will require significantly more powerful and capable in-vehicle compute platforms,” said Edzard Overbeek, Here CEO.

“As a premier silicon provider, Intel can help accelerate Here’s ambitions in this area by supporting the creation of a universal, always up-to-date digital location platform that spans the vehicle, the cloud and everything else connected.”

Intel will now work with Audi, BMW and Daimler to test the architecture initially, but has said that it will look to make the technology available to other auto manufacturers at some point in the future.

View of Berlin, Germany. Image: AR Pictures/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic