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Technology firm Nokia, best known for its mobile phones and tablet devices, has announced the formation of a $100 million fund to help develop the next generation of connected, autonomous vehicles.
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Nokia is now one among several technology companies and automakers working towards vehicles that interact with their surroundings--relaying data to the driver, but also giving cars the ability to drive themselves in certain situations. The company already has involvement in the automotive industry, using its HERE smartphone-based navigation and augmented reality systems. These connect with systems already in your vehicle, to give drivers the option of controlling smartphone apps and more from the car's own controls.
The new fund, managed through Nokia Growth Partners, will invest strategically in projects that support the growth of the ecosystem around HERE's mapping and location services. Nokia sees the automotive sector as a major growth area for its specialist technologies, as cars essentially become more like smartphones--offering the same levels of connectivity to services around the world. More than that though, cars with precise location data, mixed with sensors for the immediate environment, can better-equip drivers for the challenges of modern driving.
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"With more than 25 years of experience in creating automotive grade maps for the automobile industry, we look forward to working with promising companies in NGP's new fund to create a whole new class of services that keep drivers safe and connected," said Michael Halbherr, CEO of HERE. Nokia joins rivals like Apple and Microsoft in working on connected technology, and Google in exploring the potential of self-driving vehicles.