Here is synonymous with digital mapping. Starting life as Navteq before moving into Nokia, it is now mostly owned by a consortium of German car manufacturers - BMW, Audi and Daimler - so you're likely to be hearing a lot more about Here.
At CES 2019, Here announced Here Navigation On Demand, a new navigation solution for vehicles that's designed to give a complete embedded in-car solution, but with the familiarity of a smartphone-based system.
The challenge for car manufacturers has always been keeping pace with newer smartphone solutions and Here looks to overcome that challenge, offering a solution that will run in the car, mirrored from a smartphone and also be available out of the car.
"Here Navigation On Demand is the reinvention of in-car navigation for the era of the connected vehicle," said Edzard Overbeek, CEO of Here Technologies. It is an off-the-shelf solution, designed to be flexible enough to integrate with existing infotainment systems in a customisable way.
Navigation On Demand will be kept up to date via over-the-air updates, and can be fully customised by the car manufacturer with branding and so on.
One of the exciting parts of this new development is a partnership with Amazon's Alexa. Alexa is very much the poster child of the AI generation and being able to have Alexa give your navigation commands - as well as integrating with other Alexa functions - gives Here added consumer appeal.
"Our work with Amazon will drive a truly differentiated and delightful user experience, from the home to the car, to where you want to go, and what you need to know," said Overbeek.
"Because Alexa is integrated directly into the experience, automakers using Here Navigation On Demand can easily provide customers with an intuitive, voice-first experience in the car, and provide richer, more useful voice interactions at home and on the go," added Ned Curic, VP of Alexa Auto at Amazon.
Extending beyond the vehicle, Here navigation will integrate into Alexa services on other devices. That will mean that you could ask your Amazon Echo to find navigation instructions and set you a reminder - and you'd then have that experience reflected in the car, with Here using real-time traffic to find the best route to where you want at the time you want to go.
Of course, this announcement is some way from actual implementation and it may be some time before we see Here's solution working with Alexa in a car that you can buy - but it's certainly an interesting twist in Alexa's road to world domination.
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