Mapping provider Here has acquired Advanced Telematics Systems (ATS), hoping to augment its Open Location Platform (OLP) with the German software company – which specializes in over-the-air (OTA) updates for automotive applications.
This news came hard on the heels of announcing a partnership with Fujitsu, which will act as a system integrator for Here in automotive and smart city projects; as well as a smaller installation win with Hyundai. But the big news for Here is the initial launch of version 1.0 of the OLP, to select customers.
Here has been leading the market for mapping platforms for cars, although has been having to fend off advances from chief rival TomTom. Here is pursuing a diversification strategy of sorts, providing an application platform akin to Google Maps to software developers, as well as a standalone app that rivals Google Maps – called HereWeGo for smartphones.
TomTom has been chalking up wins with Baidu, and a traffic monitoring deal with Cisco that uses fiber optic cable distortion to count cars. It also notably scored the IVI (in-vehicle infotainment) mapping contract for Daimler cars in North America – despite Daimler owning a big chunk of Here. While TomTom is still behind, it is turning the screws, trying to catch up.
No details were given for the ATS transaction, but all of its staff will be joining Here and the deal is expected to complete in Q1 2018. ATS will be bringing along its portfolio of open source and standards-based OTA tech, which is apparently aligned with Uptane – a US DoHS (Department of Homeland Security) framework.
ATS claims to be the first European company to integrate the DoHS specifications into its OTA solutions – specifically, OTA Plus and ATS Garage. Uptane is a joint research project between departments in NYU, the Southwest Research Institute, and the University of Michigan. The trio are backed by the DoHS, which is hoping to develop a common standard for automotive software updates. While it was designed with partners representing 78% of cars on US roads, it’s still very early days for Uptane.
Here says it will keep the Uptane work alive inside its portfolio, as a standalone product, but plans to integrate the tech into its existing mapping systems. Part owned by Audi, BMW, and Daimler, with Intel and a trio of Chinese investors buying in at a later date, we anticipate these names being among the first Uptane adopters.
Here claims that its mapping data is used by 100m cars globally, making it the number one location data provider. As Wireless Watch’s sister service, Rethink IoT, has previously chronicled, it plans to use the data generated by those cars as the fuel for its OLP – using the cars to update its maps much more quickly than Here could hope to do using its own mapping vehicles, drones, or aerial imaging.
At its core, the OLP is a big data analytics platform, but one with location services at its core – via the maps. Here plans on pushing it as a complete platform for application developers, for anyone with an interest in things like logistics, asset tracking, smart city, and transport – being able to pull and view data from end devices and process it within a central app, with the potential to monetize this data.
The OLP is then sold to any company looking to add location-based services to an application, system, or product. This integration then lets a company place assets or customers geographically, enabling all manner of applications. In addition, the OLP can act as a data marketplace that allows vendors to trade data and services, as well as providing that application environment. Here will also get a slice of the ecommerce transactions, but this is a long term strategy.
The Hyundai deal is worth noting too. The South Korean automaker will be using Here’s Real-Time Traffic service in a select range of its North American 2018 range, a system that uses sensor data pulled from all vehicles using it – to provide ‘real-time’ views of road conditions and traffic flows.
For Hyundai, its customers should enjoy a better driving experience, freer of traffic delays – helping Hyundai protect its brand. For Here, every such deal that it signs for RTT augments the platform, providing more data for it to use, and keeping the system more up to date. Moving forward into self-driving functions, every bit of additional data that can be shared among vehicles will help improve the overall safety of the autonomous system – and as Here is providing the HD maps required for these cars, it’s got a strong self-interest to encourage sales of RTT to auto makers.
The final piece of Here news sees it strike a partnership with Fujitsu, which sees the pair plan to link arms and offer an integrated solution to customers searching for autonomous vehicles and ‘advanced mobility services.’ It should see Here’s OLP and maps packaged with Fujitsu’s SI services, as well with its data analytics and data center High Performance Computing (HPC) products.
Currently, the pair say that they plan to include an on-demand system for ride-sharing platforms and car allocation, a camera-processing traffic monitoring solution that includes emergency response functions, and a route guidance system for managing city traffic that can accommodate delayed trains and their impact on the city. Fujitsu says it will be adding the Here HD Live Map into its existing automated vehicle offerings.
“I am very pleased to provide additional value for customers through our partnership with Here, and I have high expectations that we can expand these efforts globally,” said Fujitsu CTO Shingo Kagawa. “By leveraging human-centric AI and high-performance computing technology, as well as our experience with services related to location information it has developed over the years, Fujitsu will promote the expansion of mobility services and the provision of the dynamic maps necessary for autonomous vehicles. Through this collaboration going forward, we will contribute to improved convenience in travel and shipping for people around the world.”