Over a year ago, Nokia joined Mercedes-Benz to create maps for autonomous, self-driving cars. You can see the result of some of this cooperative research in this article. As a next step, Nokia has collected a $100 million fund, and plans to begin developing a program that will connect future cars (and mobile devices) with each other and their surroundings.

The Nokia Autonomous Car Development Program is important because it will one day become the 'eyes' of autonomous cars. Obviously such cars will rely very heavily on information being brought to them about one-way streets, upcoming traffic, poor weather conditions, and full parking lots.

Ultimately, Nokia is looking to create automotive maps that allow users to connect through their existing smartphone, They also want these automotive systems to work much like a mobile device, offering various apps, and efficient methods to keep them up to date as any other technological device must do these days.

Nokia has a lot of competition in this area, including Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Audi. Each of these companies are all hot on the trail of creating their own unique platforms, maps, tablets, and user interfaces. It is clear that they will all need to cooperate at some point. However, there is still a big question as to who will complete the first fully compatible program for all automobile systems.

“With more than 25 years of experience in creating automotive grade maps for the automobile industry,” explained Michael Halbherr, the CEO of Nokia Here. “We look forward to working with promising companies in NGP's new fund to create a whole new class of services that keep drivers safe and connected.”