Sony’s venture capital arm has invested in what3words, the startup that has divided the entire world into 57 trillion 3-by-3 meter squares and assigned a three-word address to each one.
Financial details were not disclosed.
The startup’s novel addressing system isn’t the whole story. The ability to integrate what3words into voice assistants is what has piqued the interest and investment from Sony and others.
“what3words have solved the considerable problem of entering a precise location into a machine by voice. The dramatic rise in voice-activated systems calls for a simple voice geocoder that works across all digital platforms and channels, can be written down and spoken easily,” Sony Corporation’s senior vice president Toshimoto Mitomo said in a statement.
Last year, Daimler took a 10% stake in what3words, following an announcement in 2017 to integrate the addressing system into Mercedes new infotainment and navigation system—called the Mercedes-Benz User Experience or MBUX. MBUX is now in the latest Mercedes A-Class, B-Class cars and Sprinter commercial vehicles. Owners of these new Mercedes-Benz vehicles are now be able to navigate to an exact destination in the world by just saying or typing three words into the infotainment system.
Other companies are keen to follow Daimler’s lead. TomTom and ride-hailing services like Cabify recently announced plans to enable what3words navigation to precise locations.
And more could follow. The startup says it plans to use the investment from Sony to focus on more initiatives in the automotive space.