Speeches on the occasion of the acquisition of HERE by AUDI AG, BMW Group, Daimler AG
Speech Sean Fernback
CEO of HERE
Welcome to this press conference and to our HQ here in Edison Hoefe, where Germanys first light bulbs were manufactured more than a century ago. We have 1,000 people based in this building, of an incredible 50 nationalities. And every one of them is passionate about location technology.
For me and them, and all of our other employees around the world, this is a historic moment. With our acquisition by these three German car companies now completed, we have reached the most desirable outcome for HERE… which was to be backed by strong companies with a vested interest in location technology who wish for us to operate as an independent company. It means our destiny is in our own hands.
We believe that maps and location technology hold the key to new kinds of services that will change people’s lives in a fundamental way. In fact, we have believed this for a long time. The map has always been at the heart of what we do, ever since we started building one of California in digital form in 1985. Maps have always helped us answer questions – the primary one being the most obvious: how do I get from A to B?
However, the maps we are creating today are, in many ways, different to those we grew up with. Today’s maps are answering many more questions. How can I avoid that traffic jam? How can we make driving safer? Where are the people that matter to me, right now? How can we help a business consume less fuel? How can we help a city manage their inventory in smarter ways? They are all important questions. And HERE has the ability to help answer them.
This is why the three German automotive companies took an interest in us… Each realizes the power of location in driving positive change for people and society. So let me now welcome our new shareholders and thank them for placing their trust in us – 2.8 billion euros of trust!
We are very excited by our new shareholders and we look forward to inviting others to join us too. Let me emphasize that we are a business which will thrive by being open and independent – and this is exactly the approach we will take.
We want to deliver powerful location services to all kinds of companies. Today, we serve the competitors of the companies who are now invested in us. This will not change. This is the only way to create a rich and vibrant location platform that can serve all of our customers effectively.
The more the platform is used, the better it gets for everyone. Fortunately, we have a healthy financial position too so we are able to invest the substantial sums required to succeed in building what we envision.
As you might imagine, the HERE team is very fired up to deliver. So, let me conclude by saying that we look forward to achieving much more under our new ownership structure.
Speech Rupert Stadler
Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, we are announcing the successful acquisition of HERE. After just four months, we completed the transaction on Friday the 4th of December – earlier than expected. Antitrust authorities all over the world have quickly approved our plans. AUDI AG, BMW Group and Daimler AG will each hold one third of the new holding that unites all HERE companies worldwide.
The acquisition of HERE by the three leading competitors in the premium car segment is unprecedented. It illustrates the strong impact of digitization on the automotive industry. Access to real-time maps – always up-to-date – is of major strategic importance to us. This is why we chose a premium provider: HERE offers first-class maps and a deep understanding of the business of location-based services.
With its high-quality navigation data, HERE is the market leader in the automotive sector. Already today, in Europe and North America, four out of five cars with in-dash navigation are equipped with data from HERE.
Automated driving is one of the major trends for the automotive future. And people will benefit from this trend. They will not waste but use their time in a traffic jam. Artificial intelligence will optimize the daily commute: finding the quickest way, keeping in mind our daily schedules and tasks, giving us back time, space and quality of life.
According to a recent study by Boston Consulting Group and the World Economic Forum, 60 percent of the people living in cities find highly-automated driving attractive. In this key technology, the German car industry is the leader. Audi just showed piloted driving on racetracks like Hockenheim in Germany or Sonoma Raceway in California at full speed. And HERE is going to provide high-definition maps for that purpose.
There will be three main differences compared with maps used today.
First: precision. The resolution will be up to ten times higher than today. We talk about a range of several centimeters for every single lane. You know, an exactness of 90 percent is not enough to be safe on the roads. We need more: We need accuracy.
Second: freshness. HERE will have dynamic content. We want HERE to become the world’s best reality index. This index knows WHAT happens WHERE in the very moment. This is a LIVE representation of the world.
Third: reliability. The new maps will include all relevant objects to identify the position of a car even without GPS. The first maps have been set up accordingly. We use them on public test tracks for automated driving in the US, Germany, France, and Japan.
As car guys, our starting point for this acquisition – needless to say – is mobility. But our vision is a holistic approach and an amazing opportunity to improve people’s lives. And we from the car industry will strengthen our position in a digitalized world.
In an Internet of Things, HERE will bring the smart world to the next level: smart cars, smart cities, smart buildings, smart enterprises, smart objects all around. And HERE will establish an open platform for location-based services.
We have a different approach for HERE: becoming THE provider of location services which is flexible to the unique needs of all kinds of business. With its strong track record of innovation,
three decades of experience and a unique team, HERE aims to be the world technology leader.
To make this come true: We invite further partners to join – from the automotive and other industries as well. Thank you.
Speech Klaus Fröhlich
Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development
I can’t tell you how excited I am personally that we - Audi, BMW and Daimler - have reached this important milestone together with HERE, after many months of really hard work. The three of us would like to take this opportunity to thank Celsius Capital headed by Carlos Bhola. They have supported us from the start with deep tech sector expertise to successfully complete this investment.
Today marks the start of something very special: This is a big step into the future.
Back in 1987, I joined BMW - a powertrain engineer fresh out of University - and the digital world looked very different then! My engine control unit had only 256 KB RAM at that point in time. As technology developed, BMW understood at a very early stage the importance of connecting car and driver to the environment. Already back in the 90s, we established BMW ConnectedDrive.
And today one thing is clear: Every one of our cars is connected and customers expect the connectivity they enjoy elsewhere, to also be available to them when they’re on the road.
It’s about converting data into relevant information. It’s about helping people to find their way and making their lives easier and safer.
HERE is the leading provider of high-precision maps and location-based services and data. Its current offering comprises digital maps for 196 countries in more than 50 languages – that is truly global! HERE has customers across a range of industries and businesses including automotive, enterprise and consumer, as well as market platforms.
We three investors guarantee that HERE will remain open to all customers and partners. The idea is to have a worldwide data platform for new intelligent location-based services. We will enable solutions for an increasingly complex world - such as a smart traffic infrastructure and smart next-generation on-board services.
We expect safety to increase significantly through new driver-assistance systems, right up to fully automated driving. They will be based on an increasing amount of connected vehicles that exchange relevant data via the cloud. In that context the fleets of connected vehicles of our three premium car brands offer enormous potential to accelerate the development of HERE’s location platform.
And the logic is: The more partners and customers who join this platform, the better its maps become - more precise and more up-to-date. We will offer a product that keeps getting better as the volume of data increases.
But beyond maps, with millions of data items, HERE can create new services and improve existing ones. All customers of HERE - not only from the automotive vertical - benefit from and contribute to this stream of anonymous data. The car relays data about the current driving situation and not the driver. Customer and driver privacy remain key for us.
Real-time car data is just the first layer of data that comes on top of the digital maps. We expect sensor data from other kinds of connected devices to go on this platform – such as smartphones, wearables and road infrastructure like traffic lights.
HERE will offer tools for third-party developers to create new services on this open platform.
It is not only about collecting data and inserting them into a map, it’s also about connecting the dots and analyzing this data. That’s why HERE has to continue, and accelerate, its investment in location intelligence and predictive analytics.
The map technology of HERE and the data from sensors will be a perfect match in developing unique mobility services of the future. Highly automated driving will leap forward when we combine maps and data from millions of vehicles.
Together, we will make mobility safer, easier and more enjoyable for everyone.
Speech Dr. Thomas Weber
Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, Development
Ladies and Gentlemen,
innovation has many aspects. It’s about new technologies, good ideas and of course: It’s about understanding the needs of our customers. But: Innovation also needs independence! Independence means to free your mind from potential hurdles.
Let me give you a short example: In 2012, an independent project-team of Mercedes-Benz engineers
worked on the question: What does it take to make a car drive fully autonomously with only serial car technology on board? The solution was quite simple: They just tried to find it out! Only three things were set as goals: no breakdowns or accidents, no intervention of the safety driver, and without causing a symphony of horns. A few months later, we put an autonomous driving S-Class on a 60-mile-route in the countryside and in urban traffic … The S-Class not only found its own way it also reacted correctly to everything else in traffic.
What did we learn from this project? We need more than just the ability to innovate. We also need the openness for innovation to happen. You can trust in high definition maps from our partners at HERE.
Ladies and Gentlemen, my point is: We need exactly this spirit of innovation, to make HERE
a global leader in technology. That is why it’s so essential for us that HERE will remain OPEN
and independent. I want to emphasize that no single party will have control over HERE. And importantly, that includes ourselves.
Audi, BMW and Daimler will have clearly-defined and distinct roles. Firstly, as a shareholder each OEM will have one representative in the supervisory board. We will bring in our know-how to develop HERE and lead the company to a prosperous future. Independent members will expand the board’s expertise and authority. Secondly, as a customer, every OEM will individually strive for the best solution for its brand. Each of us follows a separate technology roadmap, and will have individual contracts with HERE while generating economies of scale together.
What is our approach? Full steam ahead with a strong focus on execution! That’s why we want HERE to build the leading location platform delivering high definition maps combined with real-time location-based services. And: to identify and onboard other OEMs and industry partners
to further enhance this platform
What can HERE expect from us, the three investors? We will bring high-tech cars on the street and keep pushing our vision of autonomous driving. And: We will launch cutting-edge connected car services. For the car itself and our whole business it is essential to know WHAT happens and WHERE it happens in real time. The data from our premium cars will be an important part of a communized and global network that will help to develop advanced, real-time, high-definition maps. In the best interest of our customers. With this data it will be possible to offer location-based services like traffic information, hazards like black ice, or accident warnings The more data added, the better its products, services and thee so-called reality-index of the HERE platform will become.
HERE will collect and analyze location-based data to create for example “swarm” intelligence. The data from individual sensors of a car and the data from sensors generated by crowd sourcing will be matched to improve static information, as well as dynamic information for automated driving.
To make one point clear: We want to support drivers, not spy on them! Customer data privacy and security is of utmost importance to us! We want to build the safest cars for our customers, and that includes safety for their data.
Why is HERE a key player for us in the future? First of all, because of its most important asset: The over 6,000 experienced and highly motivated employees! The Second big point: Its valuable portfolio of intellectual property and patents. And: Because HERE has many key competitive advantages in the field of location-based services.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the acquisition of HERE by the three leading premium OEMs is a milestone in the history of the automotive industry. It shows the fundamental technological changes which are taking place in the automotive industry. We will likely see more disruptive innovations and profound changes in the next 10 to 20 years than we’ve seen in the last 100 years.
And I am sure, we will shape the future together!
For your questions please address the following spokespersons:
Corporate Communications Ingolstadt
Tel. +49 841 89-38455
Business and Finance Communication Munich
Tel. +49 89 382-24544
Corporate Communications Stuttgart
Tel. + 49 711 17-35014