Fortunately for Nokia, Google’s control of the mapping industry, combined with its prototype self-driving cars, has made a lot of powerful tech companies and automakers nervous, says Richard Wallace, director of transportation systems analysis at the nonprofit Center for Automotive Research. “If nobody is left to battle Google on map quality, maybe not this year but three years from now, then you can’t fight it when they say the price is going up,” he says. “That’s why I think this bidding war is so severe.”
It’s tough to create a database of map info that’s 100 percent reliable. (Ask Apple.) Factor in the 3D elements, public transport data, and regular addition of new cities, and Nokia probably spends about $2 billion a year on Here’s R&D, estimates analyst Horace Dediu, a former Nokia business development manager who runs researcher Asymco.
Here captures billions of 3D points to model the surface of a road, which helps guide self-driving and autonomous vehicles.