By Jonathan Davies

Nokia has announced that it is to sell its digital mapping business to a group of German car manufacturers, including Audi and BMW, in a deal worth €2.8 billion (£2bn).

The group is currently focusing on developing technology to allow the car manufacturers to build driverless cars. Nokia's Here utilises cloud technology to build digital maps.

"High-precision digital maps are a crucial component of the mobility of the future," said Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of Daimler, another of the German car makers involved in the deal.

"For the automotive industry, this is the basis for new assistance systems and ultimately fully autonomous driving," the car makers said in a statement.

Despite being rivals, Audi, BMW and Daimler will hold an equal stake in Here.

"No single carmaker can do it by themselves," Here said on its website.

"The new ownership structure of Here will allow us to accelerate our strategy, further scale our business and fulfil our intent to become the leading location cloud company across industries," said Here president Sean Fernback in a statement.