Self-driving cars stand to be the next piece of technology that shakes the foundations of modern life. It’s not hard to see why — it’s basically science fiction come to life. Since it seems like everybody wants to be involved, news that Mercedes and Nokia were teaming up didn’t come as a huge surprise.
The German automaker and Finnish technology company announced plans to work together on building a 3D smart maps for autonomous cars. The system will connect to Nokia’s cloud-based location services unit, HERE, which enables personalised features for different drivers and will eventually serve as the foundation for autonomous driving. This is no easy upgrade for HERE, which will soon have to understand “the very exact precision of lane width, road sign locations and other road network” to make the cars autonomous.
It’s worth noting that Mercedes has already added smart technology like proximity sensors that can respond the these kinds of cues. It’s worth noting that Nokia’s maps division is one of only three left after the company sold its mobile phone division to Microsoft last week. So it seems fair to assume that the company is betting heavily on this new partnership to work.
Again, Mercedes and Nokia aren’t the only companies trying to build self-driving cars. Obviously, Google has been leading the pack with its self-driving product, though it’s unclear if they’ll ever bring the technology to market. Nissan, on the other had, say it will sell an affordable self-driving car by 2020, likely in the form of a $US1000 upgrade. And in recent years Ford, Toyota and General Motors have all developed their own self-driving car divisions, but they haven’t come out of the prototype stage.
With the exception of Nissan, the inevitable questions about all of these companies self-driving cars projects has yet to be answered: When will the self-driving cars be available to the public? How much will they cost? And are we sure they’re going to be safe. Announcing plans to build this oh-so-futuristic technology is all well and good. But it’s time to start seeing results. [Nokia via CNET)
Picture: Shutterstsock/Stefan Ataman