Three major automakers signaled their commitment to automated cars late Sunday with an agreement to buy mapping technology from Nokia for just over $3 billion.
The three companies — BMW, Audi and Daimler, all German — will each take one-third ownership of Nokia Here, which will remain operationally independent.
Here is a map-data leader for car navigation systems. Competitors include Google and TomTom.
The business is barely profitable and small relative to Nokia’s networking and licensing businesses. Driving specially equipped cars around the around the world to collect map data is an expensive pursuit.
But the technology is becoming vitally...