It seems anyone with an interest in self driving cars realizes quality mapping data will be essential to their success, as a long list of rival firms line up to try and buy Nokia’s mapping unit HERE.
Taxi hailing app Uber has reportedly joined the fray with a massive $3 billion bid.
Uber is battling a joint bid by Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Chinese web business Baidu. Microsoft, Apple and Tesla have all been rumored to be involved though have not put a bid in as of yet.
HERE has the second best mapping data to rival Google, which levies a hefty tax on companies like Uber or Mercedes Benz while also getting to peak at all their request data. That request data can help Google analyze a business like Uber and possibly create its own that could leapfrog the competition.
Car makers also don’t want to rely on Google because of its ambitions in self driving cars. If Google were to release an open source self driving car platform, similar to its Android smartphone system, it could massively disrupt the auto industry while hugely benefiting Google.
It would also save them a Google tax on the mapping data for their car GPS systems and traffic routing applications.
Uber’s bid indicates that despite a $258 million investment into the company through its Google Ventures arm, all is not well between the two. Google has a reputation of investing and then competing and Uber could fear just such a scenario.