HERE Brings Automakers Together to Share Live Traffic Data Among Cars

BMW 6 Series infotainment screen 4 photos
Photo: Florin Profir
Audi digital cockpitBMW infotainment screenMercedes-AMG C63 S infotainment display
You keep hearing the phrase "connected car," but what does that actually mean? Does it communicate with other vehicles? Which ones? Because if they don't all talk to each other - and use the same language - then all the hype surrounding their connectivity is a little blown out of proportion.
Late last year, the three biggest premium automakers - Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz - sat down together and agreed to buy the mapping service HERE from its previous owner, the dying Finish mobile equipment maker Nokia. The move saw all three German manufacturers hold equal shares so that the company would remain independent and could continue its work unaffected.

Almost a year has gone by since the deal and we haven't heard anything from HERE since it swapped owners, but that looks like it's about to change. Starting next week, the cars from all three brands are going to start sending live images and video of traffic conditions, jams or accidents, potential road hazards such as big potholes or treacherous surfaces, new traffic signs and even on-street parking.

This information will be shared among vehicles from competing brands, Automotive News reports, something that has never been done before. Drivers will be able to see these images from miles away, taking action as necessary by preparing to face the hazards or taking a detour.

Hundreds of thousands of vehicles are expected to start sending data to the HERE systems for now, but by 2018 their number should be in the millions order. If right now Audi AG, BMW Group, and Daimler AG are the only manufacturers actively taking part in this service, others are expected to join over the next year.

HERE is counting on the sheer number of vehicles providing the data to offer much better services than competing companies like Google, Tesla or TomTom. The sensors will monitor various vehicle systems such as the brakes, windshield wipers, headlights, GPS location or even cameras, and send the data to the HERE servers to be interpreted. Other vehicles will then receive the information on their dashboard in an easy to read form.

Whether it's HERE or somebody else, it's becoming increasingly evident that we're a very short time away from a complete overhaul of the way we look at our maps. North will still be pointing up, but the amount of information they'll be able to provide will be just short of overwhelming. Luckily, if the autonomous technology evolves quickly enough, we won't have to read them for too long.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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