Uber is making a bid for Here, Nokia’s mapping service

In recent months, Uber has been taking steps towards branching out its platform. The ride-sharing company is making big plans surrounding autonomous vehicles, as well as in more accurate, real-time maps.

So far, the company has relied heavily on Google Maps and other large mapping platforms, but it has recently made acquisitions that suggest an effort to become more independent, relying less on others for map data. The latest from Uber suggests that it’s interested in purchasing Here Maps, perhaps the largest remaining piece of Nokia’s legacy. Other big companies like Facebook and Microsoft have also reportedly been interested in Nokia’s mapping service in recent years.

After Nokia announced last month that it was considering selling Here, a consortium of German manufacturers, including Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW, as well as the Chinese tech search giant, Baidu, expressed interest in the property. As negotiations continue, sources caution that talks may not necessarily lead to a deal.

Uber has already taken several big steps to acquire talent and technology in the mapping sector, in the form of a San Jose-based software company called deCarta, in addition to hiring engineers specializing in mapping software. The company is also working with Carnegie Mellon University on the Uber Advanced Technologies Center, working on mapping as well as autonomous vehicle technology.

The biggest hurdle to the acquisition, in the end, might just be the German auto companies, who consider mapping services an important part of the future of the automobile industry, and it’s one they likely won’t let go of without a fight. At this point, only one thing is for certain: Uber’s ambitions are much larger than ride-sharing and taxi services.

[source]The New York Times[/source]