Daimler says hacking concerns drive Nokia maps bid

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Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche poses for media before the Daimler annual shareholder meeting in Berlin April 1, 2015. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke
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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Daimler (DAIGn.DE) Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche said a desire to have better control over data security was one of the reasons Mercedes was bidding for Nokia's (NOK1V.HE) high-definition mapping business.

In a call to discuss second-quarter results, Zetsche was asked whether he was concerned about hacker attacks on Mercedes-Benz cars.

"You can see from reading the papers that we are trying to acquire a platform together with our German competitors, to gain control over the platform which enables autonomous driving, for exactly these reasons," Zetsche said.

"We have the goal of designing security into the software."

Zetsche said the carmakers would seek to make the software platform, available to third-party competitors.

A bidding consortium consisiting of BMW (BMWG.DE), Volkswagen's (VOWG_pDE) Audi and Mercedes is close to a deal to buy Nokia's HERE for between 2.5 billion and 3 billion euros ($2.74 billion to $3.29 billion), sources have told Reuters.

But a final agreement hinges on the question of who owns the patents for the technology that helps self-driving cars talk to mobile networks, two sources familiar with the deal told Reuters on Tuesday.

Earlier this week, a pair of veteran cybersecurity researchers showed they could use the Internet to turn off a car's engine as it drives, escalating the stakes in the debate about the safety of connected cars and trucks.

High-definition digital maps help connected and self-driving cars can perform intelligent functions such as recalculating a route if data about a traffic jam or an accident is transmitted to update the car's intelligent mapping system.

Self-driving cars use data gathered from vehicle radar and laser sensors and cross-reference this with information embedded in digital high-definition maps such as the location of traffic lights, lane markings or traffic jams up ahead.

"As vehicles become more connected, more autonomous and less

reliant on human-operated mechanical functions, the question of security will become more important and more frequent," Morgan Stanley analysts wrote in a note on Thursday.

"We see the value of software and software content in the average car rising to around 60 percent over the next 15 years from less than 10 percent today."

(Reporting by Ilona Wissenbach and Edward Taylor; Editing by Georgina Prodhan)

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