Daimler and BMW are deepening their alliance to share development costs for highly automated driving technologies, even as each carmaker continues to pursue separate efforts to develop fully self-driving cars.
The Daimler AG and BMW Group are joining forces 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. The Daimler AG and BMW Group 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.
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. 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 Daimler AG and BMW Group will also explore additional partnerships with other technology companies and automotive manufacturers that could contribute to the success of the platform.
Daimler AG has been working on series development projects not only for specific Level 3 vehicles but also for Levels 4 and 5. 2019 will see the launch in San José, Silicon Valley, of its first pilot programme, with Bosch, on self-driving vehicles (Levels 4/5) in urban environments. Early next decade, Daimler plans to bring to the market not only highly automated (Level 3) vehicles but also fully automated (Level 4/5) vehicles.
The BMW Group has been working on highly automated driving since 2006, and has established a non-exclusive platform with technology specialists, suppliers and OEMs to take it to series maturity. Since 2017, work in this area has been consolidated at the Autonomous Driving Campus in Unterschleissheim, just north of Munich. New agile software development is used at the Campus to speed up development of the platform and set new industry standards. Around the world, more than 70 test vehicles are trialling technology. They collect data in order to improve machine learning with artificial intelligence through simulations and test new Level 2 - 5 functions out on the road. 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.
The costs of designing and building computer-powered vehicles has already prompted Honda to pool its efforts with General Motors and Volkswagen to pursue talks with Ford about an alliance on autonomous cars.