SKT, Here Technologies to create maps for driverless cars

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SKT, Here Technologies to create maps for driverless cars

SK Telecom will develop higher-definition maps for self-driving cars in partnership with Here Technologies, a leading provider of mapping data and navigation software.

According to Korea’s largest mobile carrier on Wednesday, its CEO Park Jung-ho inked a strategic partnership with Here CEO Edzard Overbeek on Tuesday during their visit to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. SKT is the first mobile carrier to partner with Here.

The Korean company was chosen as it can offer 5G technology, which is crucial in providing a seamless internet connection for autonomous cars.

Last month, local tech giant LG Electronics also announced a partnership with the company, which is run by a consortium of German automakers including Audi, BMW and Daimler, to cooperate in telematics and mapping for self-driving cars.

Under the new partnership, the two companies will develop a 5G-based HD map for major public roads in the country, including Gyeongbu Expressway connecting Seoul and Busan, from the first half of this year. The map will be able to update in real-time. An HD map differs from the current standard-definition maps in that they offer more precise lane information and geographic features accurate to the centimeter level, according to the mobile carrier. HD maps are crucial in commercializing autonomous cars, as they enhance driving safety.

As SK Telecom is already operating Korea’s top navigation app T Map, coupling it with Here’s more precise map data is expected to make good synergy, the company said.

The two also hope to extend their cooperation into making smart city infrastructure, which requires various Internet of Things and location-based services. Location-based services use real-time data to determine a user’s position for a range of functions including navigation and parcel tracking.

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