LG, HERE Developing Mapping, Location Services

Sometime within the next few years — no one’s sure exactly when — digital society will upgrade from 4G to 5G wireless networks.

The infrastructure is being built right now, with no clear standards yet for speed. But we do know that it will be faster and significantly more reliable, perhaps even replacing WiFi in homes. Plus, it figures to have a wider variety of uses.

“5G is about more than just shuttling GBs to and from your iPhone more quickly,” a 2017 Wired explained. “The 5G revolution will cast a much wider net. It’s an information conduit being built to connect self-driving cars, VR headsets, delivery drones, and billions of interconnected devices inside the home.”

It’s not a coincidence that the projected timelines for the widespread introduction of driverless cars and the introduction of 5G connectivity seem to intersect around the year 2020. The anticipated speed and reliability of 5G figures to be a significant catalyst in enabling autonomous systems, which will suck up vast amounts of bandwidth, to operate at a high level.

In anticipation of this future, LG Electronics has poured significant resources into becoming a vehicular telematics powerhouse. At the end of 2017, LG announced another move meant to shore up its position, a partnership with HERE Technologies to develop a joint offering for high-precision mapping and location services for self-driving cars.

“We’re presenting a new standard for autonomous mobile communication solutions in cooperation with HERE, which has unsurpassed cutting-edge automotive guidance technology,” LG executive vice president J.Y. Kim wrote in a statement. “With partners like HERE, LG can continue to advance the next generation of connected car technologies to help prepare automakers for the self-driving era.”

HERE is perhaps best known for its HD Live Map, a cloud-based map service that identifies static road signals such as lane markings, stop signs, speed limit signs and traffic lights. The company is developing HD Live Map to integrate with ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) across the platforms of various automakers, optimizing safety for its users.

LG and HERE will use the underlying technology of HD Live Map in the development of their joint AV mapping platform.

“To operate safely and efficiently, autonomous vehicles will need many kinds of robust data sources and powerful communication technologies,” HERE vice president Moon Lee noted. “We believe our Open Location Platform-powered services can play a critical role in next-generation telematics technology for autonomous vehicles, and we’re excited to be working with LG to make this a reality.”

In 2016, HERE was acquired by a consortium of automakers including BMW, Audi and Daimler for $3.1 billion.

As Forbes reported at the time, the primary goal of the acquisition was to empower the development and operations of autonomous systems. With the announcement of HERE’s partnership with LG, the company appears to be well on its way toward achieving those goals.

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