Location tracking and the data it provides will be vital to the future of smart cities, transportation, and other more granular technologies, like ride-sharing. HERE technologies are one of the companies making that location data possible.

HERE's vision for the future

The Senior Vice President Development and CTO and Head of Research at HERE Technologies, we're at CES 2020, talking about the future of location-based AI. 

The company recently announced that they're investing $28 million into a new machine learning research institute that would help organize the plethora of geolocation data that is now being collected by basically every smart device.

Called the Institute for Advanced Research in Artificial Intelligence (IARAI), it is being built in Vienna, Austria. 

While many reading this might not know who Here is, it's one of the world's largest mapping platforms, with Google and TomTom competing. The company formed as a rebrand of an acquisition Nokia made in 2007 of mapping giant Navteq. 


While at CES 2020, the two executives from Here discussed heavily the future of how big data in location tracking can help cities function more efficiently. When you have thousands to millions of cars constantly feeding location data to the cloud, utilizing AI cities can create nearly exact models of traffic flow and patterns. In theory, AI analysis of this data could suggest where a new road needs to be placed, how much congestion that new road will ease, along with a variety of other factors as well. 

What's capable of AI and 'big' location data

It would almost give city planners the same tools that a video game player has. Rather than spending countless staff-hours analyzing how to lay out your city, an AI could just tell you what to do.

That probably sounds like science fiction, but that's what the power of location-based big data analyzed with AI can accomplish. 

As smart cities grow in complexity and connectivity, location data of all the things moving throughout these cities will be essential to managing them efficiently.

Autonomous car sharing has been discussed as a major opportunity for the automotive market. Location data handled properly would allow fleets of autonomous vehicles to optimize where and when to pick up customers perfectly. They could even predict when there would be high demand and where it would be based on historical data.

The capabilities at hand for companies to utilized big location data in planning and strategy are practically endless. 

However, the technology is a little bit scary. Having one's location tracked everywhere they go isn't ideal. Though, chances are most people reading this already are being tracked by some app on their smartphone. So, that's not a huge concern, in theory. However, AI lets companies analyze that data to a science-fiction-Esque extent.

Just 4 points of location data for a vehicle are what's needed to determine your identity to a degree of 80% probability. That's not data that is assigned to you in any way, either. That's anonymous geolocation data for one vehicle. If you do that, an AI can probably deduce exactly who was at those 4 points. 

AI is powerful. AI, when handed big data, is even more powerful. These technologies will be the backbone of cities in the future if they aren't already.