Auto Tech

Continental, Bosch help boost HD mapping with Here acquisitions

Each company purchased 5 percent of Here for undisclosed sums, joining Intel in the quest to digitize the whole freakin' world.

Here

Today is a day for doubling up. Earlier, both Volkswagen and Hyundai simultaneously announced separate partnerships with Aurora, and now we have something similar from Continental and Bosch.

Bosch and Continental, two major automotive suppliers, each announced an acquisition of 5 percent of Here Technologies. Here's original owner, Nokia, sold the company to the German Big Three -- BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen -- in 2015. Since then, Intel's thrown some skin into the game by purchasing a 15-percent stake of its own.

Here's goal is pretty simple: create incredibly detailed, high-definition maps for use in autonomous vehicles. The company has other goals related to mapping, too, like cars sharing road conditions over the cloud to prevent drivers from traveling into dangerous areas like blizzards. In fact, Here debuted that exact tech at last year's CES.

Autonomous cars need to know things that humans don't, like lane widths down to the centimeter. That's what Here is all about.

Here

Bosch and Continental have a pretty transparent goal with each company's decision to buy in. As technology expands to include a whole crapload of cloud-based services, and as we creep ever closer to autonomous driving and all the requirements that come with it, both suppliers want to be keyed in with a company dedicated to expanding that kind of tech.

According to quotes from each company, Continental sounds like it's more interested in autonomy-specific mapping services, while Bosch is looking for a little bit of everything.

"Digital maps and location-based services are key innovations for the future of connected mobility," said Dr. Elmar Degenhart, Continental's CEO, in a statement. "By leveraging Here's technology, we look forward to generating further profitable growth in mobility services and automated driving."

"Industry 4.0, smart homes, and smart cities are rapidly growing areas of business for us, in which establishing and expanding data-based services will result in synergies with Here," said Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management of Bosch in a statement.