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July 23 14:46 CET - Adds detail/analyst comment
FRANKFURT (Reuters) -- Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said a desire to have better control over data security is one of the reasons Mercedes-Benz is part of a German car-making consortium bidding for Nokia's high-definition mapping business.

In a call to discuss second-quarter results, Zetsche was asked whether he was concerned about hacker attacks on Mercedes 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 consortium, which consists of BMW, Audi and Mercedes, would seek to make the software available to third-party competitors if a bid for the Nokia business, HERE, is successful.

Germany's premium carmakers are close to a deal to buy HERE for between 2.5 billion and 3 billion euros ($2.74 billion to $3.29 billion).

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.

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

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.

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