HERE, the mapping company that Nokia sold to a group of automotive companies in 2015, could potentially leverage its market position and technology to allow data sharing among carmakers and others, at least according to one analyst. And that effort, noted Strategy Analytics analyst Roger Lanctot, could help pave the way for LTE technology to be used for vehicle communications.
“HERE is effectively setting the stage for cars to communicate with each other via their telecommunications modules. Once embedded wireless connections evolve to 4.5G LTE technology, vehicles will be able to communicate directly at low latency levels (equivalent to DSRC 802.11p) thereby enabling a wide range of collision avoidance applications,” wrote Lanctot in a post on his analyst firm’s website. “But for HERE to succeed, car makers must overcome their own resistance to sharing data – a resistance that will have to be surrendered even in a mandated V2V scenario. For crash avoidance applications to work properly car makers will have to align their data communications and their application development.”
Indeed, when questioned on the topic, HERE noted in a statement that it supports using cellular networks like LTE for vehicle communications.
“Mobile network technology is cost effective versus other communications technologies such as DSRC, which require a lot of hardware and expensive deployment (though, we are open to other communication networks such as DSRC if they become available at scale),” the company wrote in a statement provided to FierceWirelessTech, in response to Lanctot’s post.
Further, HERE said it is already working on creating the kind of data sharing platform Lanctot said would be necessary for such vehicle communications. The company said its SENSORIS initiative creates a format for car-to-cloud data, “effectively ensuring that all cars are speaking the same language.”
“We’ll be starting with data from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz cars, but the plan is to onboard other OEMs too in future,” HERE said of SENSORIS.
As Lanctot noted, there continues to be a major push toward V2X technology: Vehicle-to-everything communications, from vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P) to vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I). Such technology promises to make driving safer by alerting motorists of situations they may not be able to see.
The auto industry has long researched the Wi-Fi-based 802.11p protocol for the kinds of dedicated short range communications (DSRC) that would support V2X services. However, the wireless industry, partly through the 5G Automotive Association, has urged the auto industry and auto regulators to use LTE and 5G instead for V2X applications.
Lanctot, a longtime auto industry analyst, said that LTE and cellular technologies make more sense than 802.11p technology for V2X.
“Aligning that development around a rigid and outdated technology like 802.11p ultimately doesn’t make much sense,” he wrote of V2X, adding that “it is becoming increasingly clear that 4.5G LTE technology will meet the required performance standards. All that is necessary now is for auto makers to agree to let their cars speak with each other with the goal of saving lives.”
And that, Lanctot noted, is where HERE could play a role in creating the glue between automotive companies so they are able to effectively share data from one car to another.
HERE was initially founded as a mapping service that was then embraced by the auto industry. Nokia offloaded the business to a consortium comprising Audi, BMW and Daimler for $3 billion as part of its wider merger with Alcatel-Lucent.