Intel is buying a 15% stake in the mapping service Here for an undisclosed amount, reports the Verge. The company will work with Here to develop mapping systems that can pinpoint a vehicle’s location ‘within centimeters’ for aiding autonomous cars. The deal is pending regulatory approval.
Interestingly, Intel had recently said it would spend $250 million to develop self-driving cars. While the company would not develop its own cars, it would look to power certain aspects of the technology with context to “connectivity, communication, context awareness, deep learning, security and safety.” The company also builds drones for industrial jobs,and while these are currently manually controller, mapping and pinpoint locations will be mandatory for automating these technologies.
Here Maps was previously acquired by an automotive industry consortium including Audi AG, BMW Group and Daimler AG, from Nokia for over $3 billion in August 2015. The consortium was also looking for a cloud computing partner to help manage the data collected by HERE and its cars, and subsequently had Amazon and Microsoft pick up minority stake in HERE, likely to fill this gap. With Intel now onboard, the consortium also has a hardware manufacturer to help develop the product.
Note that Intel has started investing heavily in the fields of machine learning, automated vehicles, VR and other upcoming technologies, after missing out on the previous digital revolution – mobiles. In November Intel started providing specialized computer chips to Delphi, an auto supplier, and Mobileye, an Israeli company that specializes in vision systems for automated vehicles. The company also acquired Voke in November, a company that makes VR cameras for live sports, and Movidius in September, a startup that makes vision chips for drones and VR.In August, it acquired Nervana, a cloud based deep learning company for $400 million.