BMW and Daimler join forces to develop autonomous car technology
The BMW Group and Daimler AG join forces on automated driving. Initially, the focus will be on advancing the development of next-generation technologies for driver assistance systems, automated driving on highways and parking features (up to SAE Level 4).
The two companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly develop this technology. They view their partnership as a long-term, strategic cooperation and the aim is to make next-level technologies widely available by the middle of the coming decade.
“As we continue to pursue our strategy, we are combining the expertise of two technology leaders”, said Klaus Fröhlich, Board member at BMW AG, responsible for Development. “At the BMW Group, long-term partnerships within a flexible, scalable, non-exclusive platform are fundamental to advancing the industrialization of autonomous driving.”
Ola Källenius, future CEO of Daimler AG, now responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, declared: “autonomous driving is one of the most revolutionary trends for us at the moment, and the entire Daimler Group is working very hard on it.”
“As always at Daimler”, he continues, “our top priority is safety. Instead of individual, stand-alone solutions, we want to develop a reliable overall system that offers noticeable added-value for customers.”
Level 3 to 5
Joint development work will be carried out via a scalable architecture covering several stages of automation, with Levels 3 and 4 enabling automated driving on highways. In addition, the two partners plan to discuss the possibility of extending their collaboration to cover higher levels of automation, both on highways and in urban areas.
Ongoing development of latest-generation technologies and existing collaborations will remain unaffected by the projected cooperation and go ahead as planned. Both manufacturers stress that they will also explore additional partnerships with other technology companies and automotive manufacturers.
The BMW Group has been working on highly automated driving since 2006. It has established a non-exclusive platform with technology specialists, suppliers and OEMs to take it to production maturity. Since 2017, work in this area has been consolidated at the Autonomous Driving Campus in Unterschleissheim, just north of Munich.
The generation of technologies that is currently under development will go into series production as Level 3 automation in 2021 in the BMW iNEXT, where it will also be Level 4 enabled for pilot projects.
Joined mobility services
Daimler AG has been working on development projects for production not only for specific Level 3 vehicles but also for Levels 4 and 5. 2019 will see the launch in San José, Silicon Valley, California, of its first pilot program, with Bosch, on self-driving vehicles (Levels 4/5) in urban environments.
This will be the next milestone within the existing cooperation between both partners that recently joined their mobility services in five ‘NOW’ entities and are investing 1 billion dollar. Early next decade, Daimler will bring to the market not only highly automated (Level 3) vehicles but also fully automated (Level 4/5) vehicles, as well cars as buses and trucks.