Trio of German companies own Here, a company that connects and shares real-time driving data between cars
Sam Sheehan
25 September 2016

AudiBMW and Mercedes-Benz have entered into an agreement to supply Here, a connected car expert company that they jointly own, with real-time sensor data collected by their cars to enable systems to better understand their surroundings.

The deal marks the first time a trio of leading brands have agreed to share data, and could indicate the beginning of a properly connected car industry. The technology will likely act as a catalyst to the rolling out of more autonomous technology.

“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 believes that with three of the world’s biggest car makers on board, others are more likely to follow. He said that up until now, progress had been fairly slow.

“It’s an interesting time, because every single OEM [original equipment manufacturer] knows that in order to do the things they want to do, they need to share data,” he explained. “But when it comes to the actual implementation, they think they still need to differentiate, so their data isn’t immediately comparable.”

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Mangan said that this is where the challenge for Here lies. “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.

“Normalising data sets is therefore a massive challenge. We have to do a lot of processing in The Cloud, and then make sense of that so that the systems can say there’s an actual hazard at this place at this time,” he said.

If more brands join into the agreement, the growth in available data will create a global cloud of information that, once normalised, will essentially act as an Internet of Things (IOT) for the automotive world.

“We don’t want to take over the world here, we want to help people put location context into their services," explained Mangan. "If that’s with IOT data, with vehicle data or with traffic management data, we’re interested.”

Here is an expert in multiple fields of data from a variety of industries. “The automotive industry is just one area, but it’s one of the most mature,” continued Mangan. “When we talk about IOT in other sectors, it’s something we can’t always implement right now. But with cars, the use cases are better defined, so it’s a more mature conversation in automotive.

“There are not many companies that can do this on a global scale, and since understanding location is quickly becoming more and more important for so many devices, we’re sitting at the crux of such a unique time on this planet,” said Mangan. “Our ambition is that we can help make this world a safer, more efficient place, as well as more technologically relevant to people.”

Read more:

All BMWs to connect to Internet of Things with Connected Drive

Seat demonstrates Internet of Things connected car technology

Toyota and Hyundai connect to the Internet of Things

Join the debate


26 September 2016
"communite" Is this word supposed to be 'communicate' ?
Does Autocar need a proof reader? Alternatively, I've ben informed that some computers have a built in device called something like 'Spellcheck' which might also be useful, to avoid the appearance of nonsense words such as this.

26 September 2016
concinnity wrote:

"communite" Is this word supposed to be 'communicate' ?
Does Autocar need a proof reader? Alternatively, I've ben informed that some computers have a built in device called something like 'Spellcheck' which might also be useful, to avoid the appearance of nonsense words such as this.

If you're going to pick someone else up on grammar, one might check your own. Assuming you weren't meant to spell "been" like ben.........

Lee J

26 September 2016
What is "communite"?

If you're going to throw the German car industry's PR releases up on the front page, at least proof read them first!

BMW, Audi and Mercedes cars all communicating? I wonder if this is to get them straight onto the outside lane and 2 inches from the bumper of a car that isn't one of the above?

26 September 2016
Good to see these giants collaborating on new technologies. Hope car makers pool their resources to develop new energy solutions too.

26 September 2016
With Apple coming into the car market within the next 5-10 years.

I think the big three german brands are scared in my opinion. They're thinking we better collaborate now to ensure we don't lose a strategic competitive advantage in the market when Apple does launch.

I read somewhere that Apple's Cash reserves are like 10X the amount BMW have alone. No way they could compete on their own if Apple came into the market with a proper alternative to their products.

Interesting times ahead...

26 September 2016
In order that cars can become driver-less, vehicles will need to know where other vehicles are located, what speed you are doing and what direction you are heading in, which is essential for vehicle autonomy and excellent real time information for the security services.

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