HERE mappingAn Audi, BMW and Daimler consortium has bought the HERE mapping and location services business from Nokia Corp.

The deal, reported to be worth almost €2.9 billion, will boost the German premium carmakers’ developments in connected car and intelligent car services.

Other bidders for the HERE mapping business include Uber and Chinese internet firm Baidu.

Audi, BMW and Daimler will each hold an equal stake in the HERE, as part of a deal that’s expected to be completed by Q1 2016.

A joint statement from the three firms said the acquisition will bolster ultra-precise real-time maps and location-based services, both important for future autonomous car developments.

“High-precision digital maps are a crucial component for the mobility of the future,” said Daimler AG chairman Dieter Zetsche.

“Our environment is constantly changing,” said Audi AG chairman Rupert Stadler. “That’s why the information in digital maps has to be continually updated so that maximum utility can be offered.”

“HERE will play a key role in the digital revolution ob mobility,” added BMW AG chairman Harald Krüger.

Although HERE maps are used by other automotive brands, such as JLR, the consortium has no plans to stop others using them. Indeed, it argues, the deal was partly made “to secure the long term availability of HERE’s products and services as an open, independent and value-creating platform”.

The consortium, said the statement, “will not interfere into operational business”.

It does, however, guarantee the car makers direct access to rich mapping services – something that could have been less certain had an outside Silicon Valley tech firm or Uber bought the division.

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