here.automotiveITRobert Bosch is also interested in acquiring a stake in Here, according to the Reuters news agency. The German supplier joins a list of possible future co-owners that includes Microsoft, Ford Motor, Renault and Continental.

Here was bought last year by Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz for 2.5 billion euros. The German premium car makers have said they would consider broadening the ownership of Here to make sure that company's digital mapping technology gets the widest possible market penetration.

When asked by Reuters whether Bosch could take a financial stake in Here, a spokesman for the German automotive supplier group answered: "It is conceivable."

Bosch and other suppliers such as Continental rely heavily on Here maps for telematics, infotainment and other connected products they are selling to auto makers.

Roughly 80 pc of all embedded automotive telematics and navigations systems use Here maps.

Digital maps are widely seen as crucial in the development of autonomous driving. If maps are to play a role in the trend, they need to be developed according to a common standard used by all carmakers.