German vehicle manufacturers BMW and Daimler are to join forces on the development of autonomous vehicles.
Following the unveiling of the carmakers’ collaboration on mobility services across five different platforms, the two rivals have announced plans to focus on advancing the development of next-generation technologies for driver assistance systems, automated driving on highways and parking features (up to Level 4 autonomy).
The two companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly develop the technology, which is considered key for future mobility - especially in the car-sharing market. The two companies view their partnership as long-term, strategic cooperation and aim to make next-level technologies widely available by the middle of the coming decade.
Ola Källenius, responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development said: ‘Autonomous driving is one of the most revolutionary trends for us at the moment. 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.’
‘As we continue to pursue our strategy, we are combining the expertise of two technology leaders. 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.
A statement highlights how the cooperation between Daimler and BMW has a number of advantages and that 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. 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 autonomous development, 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. BMW is currently working with Intel, Mobileye, Delphi and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) on technology development. The manufacturers will also explore additional partnerships with other technology companies and automotive manufacturers that could contribute to the success of the platform.
Suggestions of further collaboration between the two companies, beyond ride-share schemes, were revealed earlier this year and exemplify the partnerships between carmakers on new technologies. Ford and Volkswagen are continuing discussions over autonomous driving, with the German carmaker expected to invest in the US manufacturer’s Argo start-up.