Amazon, Microsoft Plan to Invest in Self Driving Car Mapping Unit

Amazon Web Services
Source:, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) might soon be making the jump to providing cloud services to autonomous vehicles. The two companies, which are some of the biggest in the technological world have not been overly involved in the car industry, might soon make a change in order to grow their cloud business.

Sources indicate that the two companies are interested in providing cloud computing capabilities to a mapping business which was originally owned by the beleaguered phone making company Nokia. The mapping business, Here, was just recently bought by a group of German car manufacturers including BMW, Audi and Mercedes parent company Daimler. The three manufacturers are all interested in building self driving cars, it is reported.

On top of providing cloud computing services to the mapping business, Amazon is also rumored to be interested in becoming a shareholder themselves in Here. This is seen as a move which would ensure that Amazon would become the primary cloud computing provider to the company. It’s a good business opportunity because Here continues to collect huge troves of data from the sensors that have been put on the several thousand self driving BMW, Audi and Mercedes cars.

Here, which was purchased last December by the three German car manufacturers was initially a Nokia brainchild. The deal was reported to be around €2.8 billion. A spokesperson for the company mentioned that the shareholders had stressed a willingness to work with potential and additional investors from all industries in the company since their acquisition. The spokesperson however declined to comment on the report of Microsoft and Amazon.

It is not only the two tech giants which want to get involved in Here. Reports indicate that popular French automaker, Renault, which owns Nissan, and automotive supplier Continent have also expressed some interest in the venture. Continental told reporters that a decision was imminent on whether to buy a stake or not in the mapping business, Here.

As more and more of the car manufacturers enter the autonomous game, the high interest in Here shows the central part that high definition maps will play in the automotive world.  Uber is building up its own self-driving unit, and has managed to staff itself with ex-Google employees and some of the Carnegie Mellon University engineers. Manik Gupta, former Google Maps product manager jumped to Uber’s mapping division last December and his new boss at the new company is Brian McClendon, who is the former head of Google’s entire mapping division.