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BMW Group & Daimler AG Partner For Autonomous Driving Technology

  • The partnership will focus on next-generation autonomous technology. 
  • BMW and Daimler say they may partner with other companies along the way.

The BMW Group and Daimler AG are partnering for a number of autonomous driving initiatives. The companies say they are looking to advance the development of next-generation driver assistance systems and autonomous driving, including up to SAE Level 4. Both have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly develop this and other new technologies related to future mobility.

“The BMW Group and Daimler AG view their partnership as a long-term, strategic cooperation and aim to make next-level technologies widely available by the middle of the coming decade,” a statement from both companies reads.

Faster Development Times

BMW Group and Daimler AG are looking to streamline the development of autonomous technology. The collaboration should, according to the two companies, shorten product development cycles and allow for more timely market launches.

“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 industrialization of autonomous driving,” explained Klaus Fröhlich, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development. “Combining the key expertise of our two companies will boost our innovative strength and speed up the spread of this technology.”

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BMW Vision iNEXT. Photo: BMW Group.

Related: Do people still have a desire to drive? Here is what one survey says.

BMW & Daimler: Autonomous Driving Initiatives

The BMW Group has been establishing non-exclusive platforms with technology specialists, suppliers, and OEMs since 2006. BMW’s Autonomous Driving Campus in Unterschleissheim, just north of Munich, serves as a research and development hub. The technology currently under development will enter series production as Level 3 automation in 2021 in the BMW iNEXT. However, it will also be Level 4-ready for pilot programs.

“The iNEXT project will provide our building blocks for the future, from which the entire company and all of its brands are set to benefit,” said Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management at the BMW Group, during the BMW AG Annual General Meeting last May. “It underlines the leading role Germany plays in the future of mobility.”

In a similar fashion, Daimler AG is working on autonomous driving projects to accommodate Levels 3, 4, and 5. Early next decade, Daimler AG says they will apply higher levels of automation across a wide variety of segments, including passenger cars, vans, trucks, and buses.

“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,” said Ola Källenius, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. “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.”

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The “cooperative vehicle” is based on the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, and features 360-degree light signalling. Turquoise lights indicate to pedestrians and traffic that the vehicle is in autonomous mode. Photo: Daimler AG.

Related: Consumer trust may stall the adoption of autonomous vehicles.

Long-Term Viability

BMW Group and Daimler AG will focus on scalable architectures that enable Levels 3 and 4 autonomy for highway driving. In time, the companies will examine covering higher levels of automation, both on highways and in urban areas. Furthermore, BMW Group and Daimler AG say they will explore additional partnerships to boost the success of the platform. Both companies say these considerations underscore the long-term nature of the cooperation, which aims to create a viable platform for autonomous cars.

“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,” Källenius added.

Source: BMW Group, Daimler AG.