Intel to Acquire Partial Ownership of Mapmaker HERE

The two companies plan to jointly develop a highly scalable architecture to provide real-time updates of high-definition maps for fully automated driving.

Google and Apple already had their map apps ready to go for their driverless car programs, and Uber last year bought its own map supplier for its new fleet of vehicles. Now Intel is adding map functionality to its growing internet of things business.

The world's largest processor maker revealed Jan. 3 that it is acquiring a 15 percent ownership stake in Netherlands-based HERE, a global provider of digital maps and location-based services for automotive and the Internet of Things (IoT). Intel did not reveal the dollar amount of its investment.

HERE, a global provider of embedded navigation solutions, is a private company indirectly wholly owned by AUDI AG, BMW AG and Daimler AG.
The two companies plan to jointly develop a highly scalable architecture to provide real-time updates of high-definition maps for fully automated driving. They also will explore new opportunities to use the software in IoT and machine-learning use cases.

Goal is to Make Autonomous Vehicles Safe, Predictable

The proof-of-concept architecture HERE and Intel plan to deliver will be designed to help make autonomous driving as safe and predictable as possible. For example, today's navigation technology can pinpoint a car's location to within meters, but next generation, HD mapping supports localization to within centimeters.

This will help vehicles precisely position themselves on the roadway to enable reliable autonomous driving functionality. HERE HD Live Map, HERE's cloud service supporting vehicle automation, gives vehicles the ability to "see" obstacles beyond their immediate field of vision and receive real-time updates as environments change due to traffic, road conditions and other factors.

Intel will also work with AUDI AG, BMW AG and Daimler AG to test the architecture. Intel and HERE envision making the architecture broadly available across the automotive industry as a seamlessly integrated offering that simplifies and shortens time of development for automakers.

Intel is positioned to provide a secure, flexible and scalable technology foundation for the future of autonomous driving from the vehicle to the data center. Intel's assets span: high-performance and flexible, in-vehicle computing; robust cloud and machine-learning solutions; and high-speed wireless connectivity.

In addition to furthering Intel's efforts in autonomous driving, the next generation location services that result from this collaboration can fuel the continued growth of cloud computing and the Internet of Things.

A Shared Commitment to Autonomous Machines

By working with Intel, HERE aims to offer automakers a universal solution that reduces both complexity and long-term development costs. Intel also provides expertise in developing and optimizing hardware, which will be fundamental to moving cloud-based algorithms to in-vehicle architectures.

This same expertise will support HERE's strategy to connect multiple industries beyond automotive, such as in the Internet of Things where location algorithms and location-based services are increasingly becoming embedded into connected devices. Intel and HERE intend to explore other potential collaborative opportunities spanning next-generation cloud analytics, IoT applications, machine learning, augmented reality and more.

The transaction is expected to close in Q1 2017 after obtaining regulatory approvals. Intel said it will nominate Doug Davis, senior vice president and general manager of the Automated Driving Group at Intel, to HERE's board of directors once the transaction is completed.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 10 years and more than 3,500 stories at eWEEK, he has distinguished...