Daimler Confirmed that Microsoft and Amazon May Involve in HERE Digital Mapping Service

By Staff Writer

Apr 07, 2016 04:35 AM EDT

Consortium of German's premium car makers consist of Audi AG, BMW AG and Daimler AG purchased HERE last year for €2.5 billion ($2.85 billion). On Wednesday, Daimler confirmed Microsoft and Amazon may join the consortium.

Microsoft and Amazon are competitors for Google in providing digital map information service. While German car makers have high concern over Google as data provider which they fear will make them lose control over their own data regarding their products and users. Therefore, making alliance with Google's competitors is a natural way to ensure their independence.

A Daimler board member who is charge of research and development, Thomas Weber, told Wall Street Journal that the conversation with Microsoft and Amazon has been conducted, but the company has not yet decided.

"We are talking to Amazon, Microsoft and many auto makers. We need a cloud provider to handle the huge amounts of data created by HERE and its users. We haven't taken any decisions yet."

Furthermore, Weber said, "We've always said that we wanted to protect our independence."

Meanwhile, BMW spokesman Max-Morten Borgmann said in an email statement, "We have determined that there is a lot of interest in this, not only from potential partners in the automobile industry but also from interested parties in other industries."

None of the spokesman from the consortium is willing to elaborate the further plan regarding Microsoft and Amazon involvement in their digital map business. However, Reuters reported that both Amazon.com and Microsoft are planning to take a minority stake in HERE.

While Fortune reported that the consortium needs cloud computing providers to manage the mass of data. Those data will be collected from sensors on board thousands of Mercedes, BMW and Audi cars. Then along with traffic and road conditions data, all of them will be fed into the digital maps.

HERE is the intelligent mapping systems which supply information to control autonomous vehicles.The self-driving cars are equipped with street-scanning sensors to measure traffic and road conditions which can be shared with other map users. Such massive amount of data need a high availability cloud computing service.

Amazon Web Service and Microsoft Azure are two of the leading providers of cloud computing service along with Google Cloud. Microsoft Azure has built its own custom operating system. The system run a layer that manages computing and storage resources of the computers and provisions them to applications running on top of Microsoft Azure.

Microsoft Azure deploys Microsoft Azure Hypervisor to provide virtualization of services. While Amazon Web Service run a combination of three cloud services known as Elastic Computing (EC2), Elastich Book Store (EBS) and Storage Service (S3). Amazon provides a high availability computing service with low-latency performance which also suits the needs for self-driving cars.

HERE was a Nokia map service purchased by German car makers consortium last year. As the consortium need a cloud computing service provider, Daimler confirmed Microsoft and Amazon is in talk with them.

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