GENIVI Alliance: Maps and navigation are gold for automakers

Data is known as the gold of the 21st century. In the context, this was clearly demonstrated by the recent acquisition of , ’s and navigation arm, by a German consortium of automakers consisting of AG, AG, AG, and others.

More and more drivers are trusting their smartphones for navigation features, and the automotive industry is massively deploying integration (see my previous blog) to deliver these features in the car. So, why is it so strategic for automakers to control maps and navigation? And what makes the recent purchase of HERE so important for the automotive market?

While some automakers have delegated navigation features to a connected smartphone, many others still see essential value in proposing in-dash, embedded solutions from the automaker. The latter understand that automobiles are about mobility and navigation, and that these functions are as core to the modern automobile as the engine or the chassis. Moreover, navigation becomes a must-have in an autonomous vehicle. Would you let your smartphone drive your car?

So if an in-car solution is required for today’s drivers and tomorrow’s autonomous cars, what is the automotive industry doing to simplify and standardize the incorporation of maps and navigation features in the car? How are automakers making sure that they have maximum flexibility to seamlessly integrate these into the car, besides relying on connected smartphones?

These questions have formed the basis of a core activity in the GENIVI Alliance. As the automotive alliance for (IVI), GENIVI established a location-based services (LBS) expert group that has defined several standard interfaces (APIs) to allow easy integration of navigation engines and applications.

The group is now working on a demo that will show available APIs running on the GENIVI Demo Platform. The adoption of these APIs is continuously growing. In the commercial space, navigation companies like TomTom have deployed these interfaces extensively in their projects with automakers. In the arena, interfaces defined by GENIVI that bridge in-car data to Web applications are now being discussed in a working group with the possibility of becoming a World Wide Web standard, and discussions have turned to the specifics of the navigation and points of interest APIs defined by GENIVI.

It is suggested that with several GENIVI members playing a part in the automaker consortium now driving HERE, further adoption of GENIVI LBS APIs in the former Nokia business may occur. This would continue already strong momentum in the commercial space to establish these GENIVI APIs as de-facto standards in the industry.

The move to standardized APIs gives automakers the opportunity to offer embedded navigation with much less effort and cost than in the past, More importantly, it allows automakers to keep control of this essential feature as they move toward future deployments of an .

For more information on GENIVI’s location-based service APIs and other navigation work, please visit

Philippe Gicquel is Technical Product Manager for the GENIVI Alliance.

GENIVI Alliance