8 Things You Need to Know About Nokia HERE

Nokia HERE Maps 1 photo
Photo: Nokia HERE
So, this week's big news indirectly related to the future of (autonomous) cars was the consortium formed by BMW, Audi and Daimler buying Nokia's HERE division.
But then we wondered: why is HERE so important and what do they have to offer? Moreover, who are they?

We did some research and besides the editorial on how self-driving cars will or will not solve our problems inspired by this acquisition, here comes a guide structured around the most important eight things you need to know about Nokia HERE.

1. HERE has been mapping roads for 30 years

That's right, the roots of HERE can be traced back to 1985 when a start-up ventured into this niche by mapping the San Francisco Bay area. This start-up became known as NAVTEQ and in 1994, it installed its first ever automotive-grade map in the BMW 7 series. Nokia bought it in 2008.

2. Hundreds of HERE cars are mapping the world’s roads as we speak

Google's cars are not the only ones scanning the world's roads. HERE uses cars equipped with laser-based LiDAR technology to map streets to centimeter-level accuracy. They are called True Cars and travel around 50.000 km on six continents each week.

But the job is not done only by cars. Overall, HERE uses 80,000 data sources to continually update its maps including land registry data and a global community of cartographers.

3. Four out of five cars use HERE maps

This includes models produced by carmakers like BMW, Jaguar Land Rover and Toyota. That means 10 million cars get Nokia HERE tech every year. Other than that, HERE provides routing, traffic, and local search services, along with operating 2.7 million updates to its maps every day and voice-guided navigation in more than 50 languages.

4. HERE can predict traffic 12 hours into the future

Although it doesn't know if you will win the lottery, HERE uses a mix of predictive analytics and cloud computing to help predict traffic up to 12 hours ahead of time. Moreover, 50 countries are using HERE's real-time traffic services in their attempt to stay up-to-date with current conditions and incidents that could cause delays.

HERE is also the only traffic service on the market today that updates the direction of traffic flow on metropolitan reversible express lanes.

5. HERE has a public transport branch

HERE doesn’t just map roads for private cars, it also provides info on public transport routes and timetables. It serves public transport systems for 1000 cities in 44 countries around the globe.

6. You can use HERE maps for free on your smartphone

We bet you didn't expect this one, are we right? Well, you can check for yourself: HERE Maps app is available to download for Android and iOS for free. Also, users can download maps to their device to reduce mobile data use at home and abroad. The app comes with turn-by-turn navigation for 131 countries, real-time traffic information for 50 countries and public transport routing for 1.000 cities worldwide.

7. HERE is building the map of the future for automated cars

Even before being bought by the Audi-Daimler-BMW trinity, HERE maps began working on incredibly detailed high-definition maps, regarded by the automotive industry as a crucial asset for self-driving technology.

These maps will not only allow cars to precisely position themselves on the road but will also enable vehicles to react to changes on the road as soon as possible. Such changes include areas with adverse weather conditions - covered with ice or snow - and even road sectors where maintenance works are being carried out.

8. Other companies were interested in buying HERE

BMW, Audi, and Daimler had to face stiff competition because Uber and Chinese search giant Baidu wanted to buy Nokia's HERE division. Details of the deal are undisclosed and will probably remain at that stage, but before the purchase Nokia here was worth $2.1 billion.
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