Car makers in Nokia map deal

Germany’s premium car makers are close to signing a deal to buy Nokia’s HERE map business for between $2.74 billion to $3.29 billion, but a final agreement hinges on the question of who owns the patents which help self-driving cars talk to mobile networks, according to reports from Reuters.

The purchase of HERE, is expected to be finalised by the end of July, if the two sides can settle the intellectual property issues, according to inside sources.

Self-driving cars linked to mobile phone networks can perform intelligent functions such as recalculating a route if a traffic jam or details of an accident is transmitted to update the car’s clever mapping system.

So much real-time data is processed by self-driving cars to navigate successfully that mobile network infrastructure has emerged as a major component of connected cars, earlier this week we reported on how 5G is expected to be utilised for this sector.

Reports from analysts at Exane BNP Paribas say that connected car services could evolve into a $50 billion market. Aconsortium of Daimler, parent of Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Volkswagen’s Audi division want outright ownership of all relevant patents owned by Nokia related to mapping, auto industry sources said.

But the Finnish mobile network equipment maker is seeking to keep control of some patents for how mobile devices connect to networks, be they computers, phones or newer types of network-connected cars, industrial, corporate or agricultural equipment.

Spokesmen for Nokia, Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen’s Audi declined to comment.

Nokia’s HERE has emerged as an industry leader in the field of high-definition digital maps and automotive industry players already account for more than 50 per cent of Hare’s revenue. Its main rivals include Google and smaller Dutch map maker TomTom.

Earlier this week, we also reported that TomTom have agreed to collaborate in high-definition mapping with auto supplier Bosch, to refine the technology crucial for autonomous driving.