Seoul and Las Vegas - SK Telecom, Korea's largest telecommunications company, and HERE Technologies (HERE), a global leader in mapping and location services, today announced plans for a broad technology and commercial partnership in the automotive and Internet of Things sectors.
The collaboration - outlined in their preliminary agreement signed today at CES 2018 in Las Vegas - will see SK Telecom and HERE combine their complementary capabilities in connectivity, mapping and location data to deliver new services to Korean consumers and businesses. The companies also intend to leverage the HERE Open Location Platform as a development environment and marketplace for the services.
Maps for autonomous cars
A key area of focus will be on high definition (HD) mapping and location services for connected and autonomous cars. In particular, the companies plan to enable HERE HD Live Map for the Korean market. HD Live Map is an advanced map for autonomous cars, helping them to drive more safely and efficiently. It takes advantage of probe and vehicle sensor data as well as advanced network technologies to automatically update itself, while informing vehicles about incidents, road closures, and hazards. Together, SK Telecom and HERE will further develop their data processing capabilities to support continuous map updates for cars in near real-time. HERE is already developing HD Live Map for Korea as part of a complete global solution for automakers, and this step will enable the acceleration of that work.
Location services for the Autonomous World
Connectivity will also be at the heart of location services within the cabin of an autonomous car. Passengers will be able to explore and interact with the world around them in new ways. In-car and smartphone interfaces could be used to plan multi-stop journeys, arrange connections to other modes of transport, or re-route a package destined for your home to the trunk of your vehicle instead. HERE and SK Telecom intend to jointly explore potential new services like these by combining their respective capabilities. SK Telecom is already a market-leading provider of a leading digital map service for consumers and enterprises in Korea, while HERE has expertise in three-dimensional mapmaking, indoor mapping and location-centric services.
New Center of Excellence
To support their exploratory work across these different forms of mapping and location services, the companies also announced today plans to establish a "Center of Excellence" in Korea for technology, research and innovation. Through this shared facility, the companies intend to identify immediate and longer-term growth opportunities.
"In the era of 5G networks, where the entire physical world gets connected wirelessly, telematics and connected cars will be the first to embrace 5G innovation," said Park Jung-ho, CEO and President of SK Telecom, during the HERE-SK Telecom partnership event at CES. "We'll continue to take initiative in bringing innovation onto the road and into the city by collaborating with global map solutions leader, HERE Technologies."
"Location intelligence and advanced connectivity will be at the heart of our future autonomous world," said Edzard Overbeek, CEO of HERE Technologies. "HERE Technologies and SK Telecom will together play a critical role in enabling the data infrastructure for self-driving cars. As cars begin to drive themselves and their interiors become an extension of our living and working space, there are also tremendous opportunities to provide innovative in-vehicle services to passengers and commuters across Korea and beyond. We are excited to explore these opportunities with SK Telecom."
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