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Nokia, Mercedes-Benz to create maps for self-driving cars

The two are jointly developing smart 3D maps for connected cars and will expand that concept to autonomous automobiles, according to Nokia.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

Nokia is teaming up with Mercedes-Benz with the goal of designing 3D maps for self-driving cars.

The mapping feature will be provided by Nokia's Here, a cloud-based service that offers drivers real-time traffic updates, road closures, and recommendations based on their location. Gearing up now for Internet-connected cars, Here will ultimately take on the challenge of directing self-driving cars.

"The requirements put on maps by autonomous driving go beyond what has been available until now," Nokia said in a blog post Tuesday. "The very exact precision of lane width, road sign locations, and other road network attributes are all crucial components needed to provide routing for autonomous vehicles. This is an area Mercedes-Benz and Here will continue to explore together, as automakers and Here spearhead the innovation for future commercial autonomous vehicles."

Nokia and Mercedes-Benz didn't offer a time frame for Here-enabled automous autos. But they are far from the only companies with a vision of self-driving cars.

Google has long been testing driverless cars with the aim of one day commercializing the technology. Several automakers, including Ford and Nissan are also working toward a future of driverless cars.

When might consumers be able to sit behind the wheel of a self-driving car?

Last year, Google co-founder Sergey Brin said that his company will have autonomous cars available by 2017. Nissan recently said its goal is to start rolling out self-driving vehicles by 2020.

Even the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has enthused about the technology, albeit with a heavy dose of caution. In May, NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said, "We're encouraged by the new automated vehicle technologies being developed and implemented today but want to ensure that motor vehicle safety is considered in the development of these advances."