Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz have entered into an agreement to supply data-mapping service HERE with real-time sensor data collected by their cars to enable systems to better understand their surroundings. Last year, BMW Audi and Daimler together dropped huge bucks on Nokia’s digital mapping service, HERE, to the tune of $3.1 billion. The idea was to acquire a sophisticated mapping service to help with autonomous technology while simultaneously keeping it out of the hands of outside competitors, such as Apple, Amazon and Facebook.

The deal marks the first time a trio of leading brands have agreed to share data. According to Autocar, the agreement implies that if a BMW vehicle sees something of interest on a road, this information can then be shared with Audi and Mercedes-Benz models.


“We’re showing for the first time how you can take the value of rich sensor data coming from a vehicle and use it to do things that positively impact safety and efficiency,” said Alex Mangan, Here’s product marketing manager for connected driving. “To make the most of connected systems, we all as an industry need each other. The cars need sensor data, and with this kind of agreement, for example, a Toyota vehicle could have an understanding of what the JLR car saw down the road, if everyone’s involved.”


Mangan said there are several challenges ahead, one of them is being the different type of vehicles on the road.

“The data coming from a BMW 3 Series is very different from a BMW 5 Series, and then it’s even more different from an Audi and Mercedes.” This is where cloud services and Big Data will play an important role in the future.

BMW is preparing its first fully self-driving car by 2021 and it’s currently being marketed as iNEXT.