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Digital mapping technology can offer vital information for future autonomous vehicles (Photo: Here)

Robert Bosch and Continental, two of the world's biggest automotive suppliers, are each buying a 5 pc stake in location and digital mapping specialist Here.

The two German companies are buying their stakes from Here's main owners, premium car makers Audi, BMW and Daimler. The transactions are expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2018.

The car groups, which bought Here from Finland's Nokia in 2015 for around 3 billion dlrs, want to expand the ownership of the company to help make Here technology a global standard used across the industry.

In 2017 chipmaker Intel said it was buying 15 pc of Here.

Bosch said its ownership stake in Here will boost its services business, a sector where the supplier wants to expand beyond its traditional automotive components and systems.

"Bosch is more than cars,” CEO Volkmar Denner said in a statement. "Industry 4.0, smart homes, and smart cities are rapidly growing areas of business for us, in which establishing and expanding data-based services will result in synergies with Here.”

For Continental, closer ties with Here could help grow its mobility services and automated driving operations.

Said Continental CEO Elmar Degenhart: “Digital maps and location-based services are key innovations for the future of connected mobility."