The owners of digital map maker HERE – car producers BMW, Audi and Mercedes-maker Daimler – will soon welcome another partner on board.
U.S. chipmaker Intel has agreed to buy a 15 percent stake in in HERE from the carmakers, the two companies confirmed on Tuesday, without disclosing a purchase price. A filing at Germany's cartel office earlier showed Intel had requested regulatory approval to acquire an “indirect stake” in HERE.
Intel will cooperate with HERE to develop a system “that supports real-time updates of high definition (HD) maps for highly and fully automated driving”, the companies said in a statement.
“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,” HERE's Chief Executive Edzard Overbeek said in the statement.
Daimler, VW's luxury car subsidiary Audi and BMW bought HERE in 2015 for €2.8 billion, or $2.9 billion, from Nokia in a bid to create a rival to U.S. navigation systems and keep the technology out of the hands of the likes of Google, Apple, TomTom and other tech giants.
Berlin-based HERE and its owners have for months said they are open to new investors and partners to help build out the digital mapping business, which is seen as a crucial building block to let cars drive themselves without a person behind the wheel.
Last week, HERE announced that three new investors – Chinese mapping service NavInfo, Chinese internet firm Tencent and Singapore’s state fund GIC – would take a 10-percent stake in the company. The German carmakers would be cutting their own stakes accordingly.
Gilbert Kreijger is an editor with Handelsblatt Global, covering companies and markets. To contact the author: email@example.com