Nokia drives $100m into connected car innovations

Nokia has launched a $100 million [£59 million] war chest to invest in the companies behind the connected and smart car technologies of the future in order to capitalise on an area ripe for growth.

Related: Google’s self-driving car now smart enough to conquer the suburbs

The Connected Car fund, which is being managed by Nokia Growth Partners, will be used to invest in companies that have been identified as owning innovations that will be pivotal in the future of the segment.

It’s planned that the fund will work closely with Nokia’s HERE mapping service that is already playing a role in the autos industry by providing location intelligence and the hope is that it will become an integral part of the cars of the future.

“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 tablets,” said Paul Asel, Partner at Nokia Growth Partners. “We are excited to deepen our collaboration with HERE through the Connected Car fund to invest in companies that are driving the future of the auto ecosystem, local services and personal mobility.”

Nokia’s HERE maps won’t just be about delivering high-definition maps to vehicles with another strand of its plan involving crowd sourcing information on traffic and weather using everything from online traffic reports and traffic cameras to Twitter feeds.

The Finnish company, which has identified HERE maps as one of the three areas it will focus on following the sale of its mobile business to Microsoft, enters a market that it has a small foothold in already and it will do a lot to help it challenge the likes of Google and Apple.

Related: A look inside Nokia’s Here mapping headquarters

Google has already signed agreements with various car manufacturers such as Audi, Hyundai and Honda, that will see the Android OS integrated into dashboards and with Apple also implementing CarPlay iPhone into vehicles, Nokia will have to be at its best to compete.