A trio of German car makers are speeding away with a new self-driving car technology, after winning the auction for the Here mapping business owned by Nokia Corp. (NOK) with a 2.8 billion euro ($3.1 billion) bid. But the buyers, Volkswagen AG's Audi AG, Bayerische Motoren Werke AG and Daimler AG have pledged to make the technology available to all automotive manufacturers. 'The acquisition is intended to secure the long term availability of Here's products and services as an open, independent and value creating platform for cloud-based maps and other mobility services accessible to all customers from the automotive industry and other sectors,' they said in a joint statement. They signaled that they will allow Here continuously to improve its services in future as the volume of anonymized data -- or 'swarm intelligence' from vehicles increases. 'It is the explicit intention that all Here customers are to benefit from this continuous optimization,' they added. The hope is that the use of swarm intelligence to reduce the risk of accidents by improving the system's ability to warn of hazards such as icy roads, accidents ahead and the formation of traffic jams, will help form the basis of new assistance systems and ultimately fully autonomous driving.
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