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What3words location tech adopted by Indian and Chinese carmakers

Tata Motors and WM Motors will build in the three-word address system.

Tata Motors makes the Harrier among other passenger vehicles and trucks.
Tata Motors makes the Harrier.
Tata Motors

Location technology company What3words has two new footholds in the automotive industry as China's WM Motors and India's Tata Motors announced they'll use its three-word locations to help drivers navigate. That's an expansion beyond German automaker Daimler, a What3words investor that's using the company's technology in some Mercedes Benz vehicles.

London-based What3words announced the partnerships Tuesday. It's not clear how many vehicles will get the technology, but Tata Motors is a major automaker in India, and electric car maker WM Motors is expected to sell 100,000 vehicles this year, What3words said.

What3words has divided the world into 57 trillion squares about 10 feet on an edge, each with a unique three-word label, whether they have a street address or not. For example, a good place for photographing the Mavericks big-wave surf competition is spokeswoman.across.photons. With automotive integration, you can speak three-word addresses to the car's navigation system.

US carmaker Ford lets drivers use What3words by connecting the app to newer cars equipped with the Ford Sync technology.

What3words doesn't offer mapping technology. It leaves that to others like Google Maps. But the three-word addresses work in countries or areas where street addresses are unreliable or missing. For example, you can navigate to an electric vehicle charging station at vast mall parking lot that might otherwise be hard to find.

In India, for example, What3words can help provide addresses to streets that often don't have names or that use different regional address formats, the company said.

You can use latitude-longitude coordinates too, but What3words argues its labels are easier to speak, type and remember.

Another competing technology are Google's Plus codes, which, unlike What3words, are built into the Google Maps app and service.