Mobile phone manufacturer Nokia's Here business unit, which brings together the company's mapping and location assets under one brand, has launched Connected Driving, a driving service designed to help carmakers and in-vehicle technology suppliers connect the car and the driver to the cloud.
Connected Driving offers a range of automotive products and services that builds on the company's mapping technology to provide customizable features on a flexible framework that allows automakers to differentiate the driving experience. It is designed to help problems that drivers face every day such as synching routes and other personal information across their car and devices and finding the right parking spot or closest gas station.
For instance, the Traffic feature has been improved by "Halo," a new engine that processes data. Every month Nokia collects ever-greater numbers of data, such as probe points and sensor information to deliver real-time information such as weather, traffic congestion, road construction and other factors that affect a drive. With the Traffic product, drivers should receive improved travel-time estimates so they can better plan their routes and re-route while on the go.
Here Auto offers an in-car navigation experience that delivers maps without a data connection. Drivers can get turn-by-turn, voice-guided navigation in 95 countries and 2D, 3D and satellite map views including street-level imagery. Nokia said in the future, carmakers would be able to extend the Auto experience using a software development kit (SDK) to create entertainment and other applications, such as in the areas of music and social networking.
"By 2016, the majority of consumers in mature markets will consider in-vehicle, Web-based data access a key criterion in their automotive purchase," said Thilo Koslowski, vice president of automotive at IT research firm Gartner, said in a statement. "Successful connected-vehicle solutions will add value to the connected driver's digital lifestyle and enable integrated cross-device experiences relevant for people every day."
In addition, Auto Companion, a customizable mobile and Web application, keeps drivers connected outside of the car, allowing them to synchronize places and routes across their devices. Carmakers can tap assets from the existing Here suite such as walking navigation, public transit routes and even indoor venue maps to build custom mobile applications. Drivers can use the app to remotely find their car with their device using LiveSight augmented reality technology and check the car's vital stats such as fuel levels and tire pressure.
Finally, Auto Cloud provides drivers with always-on access to several dynamic services such as real-time traffic updates, which in turn could help drivers avoid congested areas, road closures or blockages that occur en route. Drivers can also get recommendations on places to eat, parking spots, information on where to charge an electric vehicle or where to find the most inexpensive fuel.
Nokia, once the world leader in mobile phone sales, in July posted a $298 million second-quarter loss, coming in below analyst estimates. Offering a small boost was Nokia's Here mapping software, which is making its way to consumer fingertips through deals with automakers. For example, Here Auto is already integrated in Continental's next-generation Open Infotainment Platform, and Nokia is also working with partners such as Magneti Marelli and others to bring Here Auto to the market in the coming months.