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Smart cars part of Nokia's future? Finnish phone maker investing $100M in category

From smartphones to smart cars? Perhaps that's the direction Finnish smartphone maker Nokia has created with a $100 million fund earmarked for investing in firms that specialize in connected and smart vehicles.

The news comes mere days after the company handed over its mobile phone business to Microsoft.

The funding is ultimately expected to help support Nokia's mapping and location products company called Here. The hope is to create an ecosystem around the services Nokia is developing with Here.

According to a report conducted by Machina Research, by 2022 there will be over 700 million connected cars on the road and 1.1 billion aftermarket devices for services in this sector such as navigation, usage-based insurance, stolen vehicle  recovery and infotainment. The connected car  market is expected to generate $422 billion by the end of 2022.

The move by Nokia follows several similar moves by tech giants snuggling up with the automotive industry as Google recently joined hands with car makers like Honda, GM and Audi to make Android part of vehicle dashboards for consumer interaction.

Intel has also recently announced a $100 million fund to be dedicated to investing in technology aimed at accelerating the development of internet-connected cars.

Toss Apple's CarPlay into the mix as well that allows iPhone owners more of a four- wheel mobile device experience. 

"For the last few years there has been a surge in innovation that has brought technological advances leading to safer, cleaner, increasingly connected, intelligent and more affordable vehicles. Vehicles are becoming a new platform for technology adoption very similar to phones or tablets," said Paul Asel, partner at Nokia Growth Partners.  "We are excited to deepen our collaboration with Here through the Connected Car fund to invest in companies that are driving the future of the auto ecosystem, local services and personal mobility."

The fund will be managed by Nokia Growth Partners and Nokia explained in a statement that they will, "identify and invest in companies whose innovations will be important for a world of connected and intelligent vehicles."

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