You can be forgiven for not being able to keep track of Nokia's various spin offs, mergers, and acquisitions in recent years, but the company's latest move will likely perk up the ears of those even just casually paying attention. It's announced today that it is spinning off its Here digital mapping business to a consortium of German automakers consisting of Audi, BMW, and Daimler.

According to Nokia, the deal is valued at 2.8 billion euros (or about $3.1 billion U.S.), and represents the "next stage of transformation" for the Finnish company. For its part, the spun off Here will apparently operate as an independent company, with each of the three car makers owning an equal share. It will "be the Switzerland of mapping," President Sean Fernback said in a video explaining the deal.

As for the three automakers, they see both near-term and long-term benefits to the deal. More immediately, they say they plan to create even more precise digital maps using what they describe as "swarm intelligence," with the sensors and cameras increasingly found in cars these days feeding a range of information back into the maps to identify things like road hazards and traffic jams, and potentially even reduce traffic accidents.

And in the longer term, of course, they see Here's mapping technology as vital to the development of self-driving vehicles. Assuming it gets all the necessary regulatory approval, Nokia says Here will be officially spun off in the first quarter of 2016. 

Via: BBC News

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