The Q2 2012 report today brought some interesting discussion regarding Nokia’s location platform in our comment sections. Janne has written an excellent article below outlining the the importance of this location platform at Nokia, and in particular it’s role in the automotive industry. We’ve previously heard Ford and Nokia teaming up to bring a smarter driving experience. Here, Janne outlines some exciting advances Nokia could be working on with Audi.
Hidden in Nokia’s Q2 quarterly report was this nugget: “Nokia entered into an agreement with the Audi Urban Intelligence Assist (AUIA) project aimed at developing connected car technologies that help reduce congestion and improve safety supported by the use of NAVTEQ map data.” (NAVTEQ is now Nokia’s Location & Commerce unit.) There was also a mention of “Ford, whose research organization is using the [Nokia Location] platform to advance innovation for smart and connected vehicles.”
Now that Nokia is aiming to become the “Where Company”, with their Nokia Location Platform licensed to Yahoo!, Bing, Flickr, Windows Phone 8 and every four out of five automotive makers with in-dash navigation systems, how does this Location Platform actually manifest itself? Stephen Elop was recently quoted as saying mapping is step 1, navigation is step 2 – and Nokia is working on steps 3, 4 and 5 to transform the world of location-based services.
Location, location, location. Indeed, this is why Nokia did not go Android – Google is their worst competitor in location and Microsoft was willing to license Nokia’s Location Plaform for Windows Phone. It sealed the deal, says Nokia.
But back to Nokia and cars. What does it mean that Nokia has partnered with Audi on their Audi Urban Intelligence Assist project? I’ll link to some hits to that shortly. Because lest anyone think this is only just some pipedream years into the future, I think it is important to highlight what the practical applications having location-based services can have already today. Obviously Audi users Nokia’s maps on all its in-dash navigators (it also superimposes them on Google Earth imagery on some models, an interesting hybrid of the competitors), but it goes well beyond that.
Starting in late 2009, early 2010, Audi connected Nokia’s location data into its actual automotive systems starting with the high-end models (first the new A8 and then A7 and the A6, etc. depending on equipment levels). By knowing where the car is and what kind of road it is driving on, the car actually adjusts various drive systems. One example is the speed assist, that uses Nokia’s location data on speed limits and compares them with camera data from actual traffic signs, as well as actual driving speed, to inform the driver of the current speed limits and can highlight temporary speed limits.
The second example is Audi’s adaptive lighting. By using Nokia’s location data, the car adjusts its lighting patterns depeding on the location. For example, the car is able to adjust to extended highway lighting range while still on the ramp towards the highway, because it knows where it is heading and speed alone could not provide this information. Before entering an intersection, the system is also able to turn on cornering lights for wider-angle illumination, even when the driver has not yet turned the wheel or turned on the signal. These would not be possible without the car knowing where it is and where it is going.
Third example extends to actual driving, through the adaptive cruise-control and various radar systems on board. When using the adaptive cruise control to match the speed of the car in front, Audi uses Nokia’s location data to detect cars leaving the highway. If the car ahead puts on the turn signal and slows down near a highway exit, the Audi will not slow down with the exiting car, but will instead know the slowdown is only temporary (of course if the car does not exit or is getting too close, this will be overridden). Location data also means the cruise-control can follow the car in front even in curves, which a traditional adaptive cruise-control could not do.
As fourth example, Nokia’s location data controls the Audi’s automatic gearbox. On curving country roads the gearbox does not unnecessarily upshift on short straight stretches, because the car knows where it is driving.
All that in Audi’s shipping today (and that’s not even all there is), thanks to Nokia’s location data. But what about the future of Nokia location at Audi? Audi Urban Intelligence Assist is a project that involves various university research and commercial partners, aimed at generating connected car technologies that reduce congestion, improve safety and make urban driving less stressful. Audi has a vision of a future involving connected intelligent vehicles that interact with their environment and with each other, to make urban mobility more efficient, more convenient, less stressful, and safer.
Here are some highlights:
- “This data will include local vehicle and pedestrian information from onboard vehicle sensors for local awareness, as well as aggregated traffic and traffic controlling information (i.e. traffic lights, etc.), parking availability, urban events (sports events, concerts, accidents, etc.) among other, in order to get an up to the minute snapshot of the city, but also to make predictions on what the city environment is going to look like in the near future (15 to 60 minutes from now).”
- “Understanding the driver and his/her preferences, to tailor the urban driving experience to fit the personal needs of each Audi customer. The major research questions are to determine what aspects of urban mobility distract and stress individual drivers, and what kind of metrics can be used for those, in order to support and assist each user appropriately to make urban commute more enjoyable, efficient, safer, and smarter.”
- “Use urban information collected from multiple on and off board sources to predict how the city flows through the day, and use this in combination to the driver diagnostic information to generate the most comfortable and efficient route for each driver, and to give recommendations about route planning and execution tailor made to each user to make each trip a smart stress-free one.”
A little more on the AUIA here:
This is just (a part of) the automotive story. Location-based services are invading all aspects of the mobile life, including advertising. What’s next? Or is it: Where’s next?