Nokia invests $100m in self-driving car and connected car tech

Nokia sat-nav screen shot
6 May, 2014 1:00pm Alex Yau

The mobile phone company has started a fund to support the autonomous and connected car sector’s growth

Nokia has joined the likes of Apple, Google and Intel in spending millions on the connected and smart vehicle market, which includes self-driving cars. The Finnish mobile phone company just launched a $100m (£59m) fund to invest in firms specialising in this growing sector of the car market.

Mapping services is one of three key business areas in the connected and smart vehicle sector that Nokia plans to target and the fund, which will be managed by Nokia Growth Partners (NGP), will support the market’s development. Nokia has already established itself in this market with its HERE sat-nav mapping service for connected vehicles – a smartphone navigation app that can be used while driving.

A major function of connected and smart vehicles allows drivers to control apps installed on a smartphone or tablet from their vehicle’s dashboard. As well as making driving more practical, connected and smart vehicles would, in theory, make driving safer because they can sense or collect data on nearby cars or objects that are a potential hazard. 

Paul Asel, partner at NGP, said: “"For the last few years there has been a surge in innovation that has brought technological advances leading to safer, cleaner, increasingly connected, intelligent and more affordable vehicles.

"Vehicles are becoming a new platform for technology adoption very similar to phones or tablet."

Big potential for growth in connected car technology

As more vehicles become connected, companies specialising in this sector could potentially grow larger and businesses like Google, Apple, and Intel have already plugged themselves into the market. 

Google recently announced a partnership with Audi, Honda and Hyundai where it would integrate its Android operating system into car dashboards.  

Likewise, Apple’s CarPlay system will allow drivers to connect their iPhones to their cars. Vehicles with the CarPlay technology will let drivers use Apple Maps, make calls or play music either with voice commands or by touching a vehicle’s dashboard screen.

Intel also announced that it is investing $100m into speeding up the development of internet-connected cars.

Do you think there's too much technology in modern cars or could the next generation of in-car systems bring huge benefits? Tell us in the comments section below...