Mercedes and VW battling Uber and Apple to spend billions on Nokia mapping division

Whether for autonomous driving or simply better navigation, digital mapping is closely linked with the future of motoring. The sale of a major player in that industry is spurring a showdown between automotive behemoths and tech giants, and it's a fascinating battle to watch unfold.

Nokia is selling its Here mapping division, and while the company might not have the name recognition of Google, it controls about 70 percent of the auto market. The business is valued at $785 million, according to Reuters, but is likely to sell for significantly more. Case in point: Uber reportedly submitted a $3 billion bid. Apple has also been rumored to be among those interested in purchasing Here.

A trio of German automotive heavyweights is mounting a challenge to Silicon Valley, though. According to Reuters speaking to two unnamed insiders, Daimler, BMW, and Audi are teaming up to submit a joint bid for an undisclosed sum. They're worried that if Here falls under the control of tech companies, then automakers might have limited availability to these vital maps in the future.

Nokia bought Here for $8.1 billion in 2007, according to Reuters. The company operates a fleet of vehicles with cameras and LIDAR that drive around the world to create high-definition maps. It also generates even more information by using the GPS data from shipping and trucking companies.

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