Intel is acquiring a 15 percent ownership stake in mapping and location service provider HERE. The news comes roughly a week after Chinese technology giant Tencent, Beijing-based mapping company NavInfo, and Singapore state-owned investment firm GIC announced plans to jointly take up a 10 percent ownership share of the mapping company along with current owners Audi, BMW, and Daimler.
As part of the investment, Intel will work with HERE and its consortium of automaker owners to design, test and deliver proof-of-concept architecture supporting real-time, high-definition map updates. The architecture will aim to improve the precision and accuracy of mapping technology used in autonomous driving systems.
For instance, current navigation technology can pinpoint a car's location to an accuracy within meters, but HD mapping can tighten accuracy down to a matter of centimeters. Ultimately this level of precision will help self-driving vehicles better position themselves on the roadway, which increases safety, reliability and driving functionality.
HERE currently offers this kind of mapping technology as a cloud service, called HD Live Map, so Intel's contribution will likely fall on the hardware side. Eventually, Intel and HERE plan to offer the architecture to other automakers as fuel for the continued growth of cloud computing and the Internet of Things.
"Cars are rapidly becoming some of the world's most intelligent, connected devices," said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, in a statement. "We look forward to working with HERE and its automotive partners to deliver an important technology foundation for smart and connected cars of the future."
"A real-time, self-healing and high definition representation of the physical world is critical for autonomous driving, and achieving this will require significantly more powerful and capable in-vehicle compute platforms," added HERE chief executive Edzard Overbeek. "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 did not disclose a purchase price for the stake in HERE but said the transaction is expected to close in the first quarter.