Bosch is acquiring a five per cent indirect ownership stake in HERE Technologies, a global provider of digital mapping and location services. The parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price.
The acquisition gives a boost to Bosch’s services business. It also helps HERE take a further step toward its goal of becoming a global provider of data-based real-time location services to customers both inside and outside the automotive industry.
“Bosch is more than cars,” said Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH. “Industry 4.0, smart homes, and smart cities are rapidly growing areas of business for us, in which establishing and expanding data-based services will result in synergies with HERE.”
Edzard Overbeek, the CEO of HERE Technologies, added: “We are delighted to have brought on board a strong partner like Bosch, with its broad-based expertise in both the automotive and Internet of Things sectors. Bosch’s strong presence across the Americas, Asia and Europe also offers HERE attractive opportunities to further grow our business globally.”
Bosch is acquiring its ownership stake from HERE’s indirect shareholders AUDI AG, BMW Group, and Daimler AG. The acquisition is still subject to approval by the antitrust authorities. It is expected to be concluded by the end of the first quarter of 2018.
Industry 4.0: automating and streamlining flows of goods
Data-based services are already contributing more and more to growth at Bosch. The company’s IT expertise and infrastructure is correspondingly strong: worldwide, Bosch employs more than 20,000 software engineers across 120 locations and operates its own IoT cloud. In addition, Bosch offers its IoT Suite, a dedicated software platform for IoT solutions. The planned collaboration between Bosch and HERE could happen in the Industry 4.0 domain, for example. One potential area of application is intralogistics. For example, high-definition indoor navigation maps could be used to automate and streamline flows of goods all the way to the production line. Likewise, they could be used to direct maintenance personnel unfamiliar with a facility directly to the equipment in need of repair. The companies are exploring a range of opportunities where Bosch’s IoT Suite and HERE location services such as HERE Tracking could be utilised in innovative ways.
Automated driving: creating and updating high-definition maps
Open platforms for all customers will be the focal point of the collaboration between Bosch and HERE, both in non-automotive as well as automotive domains, and particularly where increasingly connected and automated mobility is concerned. High-definition maps are a requirement for self-driving cars. These must be kept up-to-date with data from the vehicle’s sensors and supplemented with real-time information on traffic conditions, congestion, construction sites, and accidents. The road signature provided by Bosch gives an idea of how this might be done. It uses information from the Bosch radar and video sensors in the vehicle to enrich and update high-definition maps. Consequently, Bosch and HERE are exploring opportunities to utilise road signature in the maintenance of HERE HD Live Map, HERE’s map for automated vehicles.