Ahead Of CES 2017, Partners Cheer Intel Investment In Self-Driving Automobile Navigation Technology Company

Partners say Intel Corp.'s move to buy a 15 percent stake in Dutch digital mapping navigation vendor HERE is sure to accelerate secure driverless vehicle technology advances that will benefit businesses.

Intel announced the investment in the global provider of digital maps and location-based services, which is owned by German automakers Audi, BMW and Daimler, on Tuesday just ahead of CES 2017.

The deal includes an agreement to collaborate on the research and development of what Intel called a "highly scalable proof-of-concept architecture that supports real-time updates of high definition (HD) maps for fully automated driving."

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Also, the two companies plan to "jointly explore strategic opportunities" that result from "enriching edge-computing devices" with location data.
’Cars are rapidly becoming some of the world’s most intelligent, connected devices,’ said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich in a prepared statement. "We look forward to working with HERE and its automotive partners to deliver an important technology foundation for smart and connected cars of the future."

Krzanich is sure to address the investment at CES 2017 in Las Vegas on Wednesday when he is scheduled to host a press conference on how Intel is extending its reach into what the company calls every segment of the "smart and connected world."

Intel has said Krzanich will demonstrate how the company is expanding the boundaries of the smart connected world with breakthroughs of its own in self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, 5G technology and virtual reality.

Worth Davis, CTO of Houston-based Computex Technology Solutions, No. 124 on the CRN 2016 SP 500, said Intel's participation in new emerging markets like driverless cars are sure to benefit partners as businesses embrace those technologies. For example, he envisioned, the driverless car technology being used for commercial trucking and delivery companies.

"Intel has got to be a leader in these markets if these technologies are going to be productized and secure," said Davis. "I give a ton of credit to Brian Krzanich and his team for driving new innovation. It's great to see Intel creating new markets. As a Platinum Intel partner, we look forward to benefitting from these technology breakthroughs with Intel. More innovation from Intel means more total addressable markets for Intel partners."

Davis said Intel's innovation in its mainstay markets like servers are sure to help as it pushes the technology envelope in areas like the internet of things and driverless vehicles. "People argue about who has the best server but when you take a step back you realize that Intel that is at the foundation of all of the servers from Hewlett Packard Enterprise to Dell to Lenovo and Cisco and others," he said. "Put them all together and it's Intel. It is that type of market leadership we need to create new emerging markets like the internet of things."

Douglas Grosfield, the founder and CEO of Five Nines IT Solutions, a market leading Kitchener, Ontario-based strategic service provider, said the driverless car market would benefit from the investments that Intel can make to expand the market opportunity.

"Intel has a broad technology reach that gives them one helluva an advantage over anyone else in terms of how deeply they can invest and drive into these new markets," said Grosfield.

What's more, Grosfield said Intel's driverless car investments are sure to result in more secure driverless vehicles in an era where hacking has become a primary concern for any and all applications.

"So many vendors in the internet of things market lack Intel's security expertise," he said. "Right now there is no security baked into a lot of these internet of things applications which are being redefined moment by moment. Because so many organizations are desperate to get their products into the market, security is often an afterthought. Having Intel at the forefront of the next wave of the driverless car bodes well for everyone."

The two companies said the proof-of-concept they plan to deliver will be designed to help make autonomous driving as safe and predictable as possible.

"For example, today’s navigation technology can pinpoint a car’s location to within meters, but next generation, HD mapping supports localization to within centimeters," said Intel. "This will help vehicles precisely position themselves on the roadway to enable reliable autonomous driving functionality."

Intel said HERE HD Live Map, HERE’s cloud service supporting vehicle automation, will provide vehicles the ability to "see" obstacles beyond their immediate field of vision and receive real-time updates as environments change due to traffic, road conditions and other factors."

Intel said it would work with Audi, BMW and Daimler to test the architecture. "Intel and HERE envision making the architecture broadly available across the automotive industry as a seamlessly integrated offering that simplifies and shortens time of development for automakers," the two companies said in a statement.

Intel said the next generation location services that result from this collaboration would "fuel the continued growth of cloud computing and the Internet of Things."

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2017, Intel said, after it obtains regulatory approvals.

Intel plans to nominate Doug Davis, senior vice president and general manager of the Automated Driving Group (ADG) at Intel to HERE’s Supervisory Board of directors once the transaction is completed.