Let’s face it, those at the forefront of self-driving cars aren’t really from the vehicle manufacturing side but rather the tech companies such as the likes of Waymo, Apple, Uber and even NVidia. Ford and even GM are pushing ahead when it comes to self-driving cars and these advances are making German automakers a little jittery.
Hence BMW Group and Daimler AG are to 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, which is key for future mobility. The BMW Group and Daimler AG view their partnership as long-term, strategic cooperation and aim 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. At the BMW Group, long-term partnerships within a flexible, scalable, non-exclusive platform are fundamental to advancing the industrialisation of autonomous driving. Combining the key expertise of our two companies will boost our innovative strength and speed up the spread of this technology,” said Klaus Fröhlich, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development.
Ola Källenius, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development said: “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, 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. Working with the right partners, we want to make significant advances in enhancing the performance of this technology and bring it safely on the road.”
The planned cooperation offers the BMW Group and Daimler AG a number of obvious advantages: the skills and experience of the individual partners and a scalable architecture will speed up and streamline the development of future technology generations. Besides the synergies, new technologies will be faster to market, with shorter innovation cycles. For both companies, the safety of vehicle occupants and other road users is of the utmost importance and a key reason for making the reliability of systems a key criterion for the collaboration. The two partners continue to pursue their goal of being the pace-setter in development.
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. These considerations underline the sustainable, long-term nature of the cooperation, which includes the aim to create a scalable platform for automated driving.
The development of current-generation technologies and ongoing collaborations of the two companies will remain unaffected and continue as before. Ongoing development of latest-generation technologies and existing collaborations will remain unaffected by the projected cooperation and go ahead as planned. The BMW Group and Daimler AG will also explore additional partnerships with other technology companies and automotive manufacturers that could contribute to the success of the platform.