According tomedia reports, map expert HERE found two new investors, after Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz and other car manufacturers, now, Mitsubishi and NTT also joined the camp. HERE, formerly owned by Navteq, was acquired in 2015 and focuses not only on digital maps but also on future self-driving car services.
In 2015, Daimler, the parent company of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, acquired HERE from Nokia. At the time, each company was already a customer of the company, and they used the company’s map data in its cars.
Now, as self-driving cars get closer to reality, high-definition maps will become more and more important. The high-definition maps here are much larger than the current resolution of existing map data, including how many lanes there are and whether there are roadside rocks on the roads. With this data, self-driving cars can better understand their position in three-dimensional space and then combine them with real-time perception of the surrounding roads.
Later, Bosch, Continental, Intel Capital and Pioneer joined the carmakers. Now, through a COCO Tech holding company, Japanese operator NTT and carmaker Mitsubishi are snapping up 30 per cent of the shares, including new shares and shares acquired from existing shareholders.
How the two companies will use the investment remains to be seen. “To support its long-term regional growth ambitions, we are currently in preliminary discussions with MC and NTT on strategic initiatives, including supporting the digital efforts of both companies,” COCO Tech said. “The areas of interest will be not just self-driving car software, but also other areas such as smart cities.” The products here will be based on what the company calls the Reality Index, a vast and growing database that includes data on roads and vehicles as well as information collected by drones, sensors on people and other items, connected cities, and so on.
However, the reality index is not just a log of these indicators, it is also intended to develop neural networks that can infer between objects to understand their relationships. This will help develop features such as self-healing maps for self-driving cars.
If all goes according to plan, the deal is expected to close in the first half of 2020.