Bosch and Continental acquire stakes in digital mapping company Here Technologies

09 January 2018

Bosch and Continental acquire stakes in digital mapping company Here Technologies

9 January 2018

German automotive suppliers Bosch and Continental are each planning to acquire a 5% stake in digital mapping company Here Technologies, which is jointly controlled by BMW, Daimler and Audi.

The move, subject to antitrust approval in the country, will help Bosch in its plans to become a leader in digital mapping technology, which will be vital as automakers look to build autonomous vehicles. However, the German company hopes to expand these plans beyond the automotive industry.

In a statement, chairman Volkmar Denner commented: ‘Bosch is more than cars. Industry 4.0, smart homes and smart cities are rapidly growing areas of business for us, in which establishing and expanding data-based services will result in synergies with HERE.’

Edzard Overbeek, the CEO of Here Technologies, adds: ‘We are delighted to have brought on board a strong partner like Bosch, with its broad-based expertise in both the automotive and Internet of Things sectors. Bosch’s strong presence across the Americas, Asia and Europe also offer Here attractive opportunities to further grow our business globally.’

Bosch is spreading its bets in the digital mapping market. In June, it announced plans to work with Amsterdam-based mapmaker TomTom to develop high-resolution maps. Those maps will employ radar data uploaded from fleets of Bosch-equipped vehicles. Bosch expects to start collecting that data in 2020.

Likewise, Here is working with a variety of partners. Last year, after buying a stake in Here, Intel announced that vehicles equipped with its Mobileye cameras would upload data to Here's maps.

In addition to its acquisition, Continental will sign a collaboration agreement with Here. The aim is to pave the way for technologies that facilitate the reliable availability of highly accurate data for the efficient transportation of people and their goods, the company said in a statement.

“Digital maps and location-based services are key innovations for the future of connected mobility. By leveraging Here’s technology, we look forward to generating further profitable growth in mobility services and automated driving,” said Elmar Degenhart, Continental CEO.

BMW, Daimler and Audi acquired Here from Finnish telecoms group Nokia for €2.8 billion in 2015, in part to avoid becoming dependent on third-party mapping providers such as Alphabet's Google, a competitor in the race to develop self-driving cars. Chipmaker Intel also holds a 15% stake.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen Group, BMW and Nissan, will use autonomous vehicle technology from Intel's Mobileye to crowdsource data in 2 million vehicles, allowing them to build maps to enable self-driving capabilities, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

For the China market, Krzanich disclosed two critical partnerships with leading automotive manufacturer SAIC Motor and digital mapping company NavInfo. In addition, SAIC will develop Level 3, 4 and 5 cars in China based on Mobileye technology.

Photograph courtesy of Bosch