Daimler invests in What3Words, a British tech startup mapping the entire world with words

 
Lynsey Barber
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Mercedes maker Daimler is one of several car companies turning to tech (Source: Getty)

Daimler has taken a stake in an innovative British mapping startup that created an entirely new postcode system for Mongolia last year.

The German carmaker behind Mercedes has taken a 10 per cent stake in What3Words, a startup creating a three word address for each nine square area on the planet.

The deal, the value of which has not been disclosed, follows the two working together on a feature for Mercedes vehicles that lets drivers get to destinations just by saying or typing the three words.

Read more: Could this Chinese electric car be about to take on Tesla?

"With Mercedes-Benz User Experience, we have moved one big step closer to our goal of making the vehicle into a mobile assistant," said Daimler's head of digital and mobility.

"Our collaboration with What3words is heading in exactly this direction: Inputting locations in a simple way makes life easier for our customers and ensures a special experience. For this reason, we will further expand out cooperation with What3words in future and develop new fields of application."

Take a look at how it works in the video below

The startup, founded in 2013, boasts several existing backers, including Force Over Mass Capital, Horizon Ventures and Intel Capital, the venture arm of the chipmaker.

Mapping is one of the key components in cars that are becoming smarter and down the road, driverless.

It's not the first time Daimler has turned to startup investments - or acquisitions - to rev up its plans for what many in the car industry have now dubbed "mobility", beyond making cars.

Read more: Uber just snapped up thousands of driverless cars from Volvo

It invested in the US ride hailing app Via, which is soon to come to London, electric car charging startup ChargePoint and Starship, the firm behind delivery robots used by JustEat. And it acquired French Uber alternative Chauffer Prive in December and British ride-hailing startup Hailo was eventually gobbled up by the MyTaxi brand which it bought in 2014.

Daimler already has a foot in the mapping space with a stake in formerly Nokia owner Here Technologies, now a consortium with Audi, BMW and Intel, and in which Bosch and Continental last week each took a five per cent stake.

Here's how Daimler and its "mobility" arm Moovel has ramped up its activity over the past few years according to CBInsights.

(Click or tap to zoom in)

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