Luxury European automakers Audi, BMW and Daimler have teamed up to acquire Nokia’s mapping and location services business for 2.8 billion euros ($3.1 billion).
The three companies will hold equal stakes in the unit, called Here, and have agreed not to seek a majority interest. Here’s mapping technology is expected to play a huge role in the development of driverless cars.
“Here will be able to offer users a continuously improving product, bringing highly automated driving and location based services a step further,” board members from the three companies said in a statement.
The automakers pledged to keep Here’s management team in place, and to keep the service open to all customers. The deal is subject to regulatory approval.
Related: Nokia is paving the way for driverless cars
Uber reportedly also made a bid worth as much as $3 billion a few months ago for the Nokia unit, which currently provides mapping and location data for nearly 200 countries in over 50 languages.
Nokia’s mapping technology is already used by a number of automakers — its maps can be found in roughly 80% of cars with integrated in-dash navigation systems in North America and Europe.
Having real-time information can help drivers avoid road hazards — icy streets, for example, and potential traffic jams, possibly reducing the risk of accidents.
Plus, it helps automakers reduce their reliance on Google maps.