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BMW and Daimler to develop self-drive tech

Driving force: Though BMW Group and Daimler AG have signed a deal to jointly develop self-driving vehicle technologies, the agreement is open to other car-makers and technology partners.

2024 launch targeted for BMW and Daimler’s jointly developed autonomous systems

9 Jul 2019

BMW Group and Daimler AG have joined forces to accelerate the development of Level 4-capable self-driving technologies, targeting a mass-market rollout in just five years.
While the joint venture will initially focus on advanced driver assistance systems, automated driving on highways and self-parking up to Level 4 – just one step lower than full autonomy – the companies said in a statement that the tie-up could extend “to higher levels of automation in urban areas and city centres”.
The partnership is also non-exclusive, meaning other car-makers and technology companies can be co-opted.
Across both car-making conglomerates, 1200 employees will be funnelled into developing a scalable architecture for driver assistance systems, which will then be adapted to separate BMW Group and Daimler AG models respectively.
Work will be carried out at BMW Group’s Autonomous Driving Campus near Munich, as well as the Mercedes-Benz Technology Centre in Sindelfingen and the Daimler Testing and Technology Centre in Immendingen, Germany.
Hardware such as sensors will not be the sole focus, however, with the program including plans to build a joint data centre for storage, administration and processing of the information gathered by equipment.
“A key aim of the co-operation is the swift market launch of the technology, which is expected to feature in passenger car systems for private customers from 2024,” the companies said.
Exactly which models the self-driving technology will debut is currently unclear, but it is expected such cutting-edge systems will be first made available on flagship models like the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class before filtering down to more affordable vehicles.
Daimler has already laid bare its intention to offer Level 3 autonomous driving technologies in its upcoming new-generation S-Class due early next decade, while its partnership with automotive parts specialist Bosch will result in urban trials of Level 4 and 5 systems in San Jose later this year.
Daimler is also touting its breadth of automotive products as a means of democratising self-driving systems to all aspects of on-road transportation, “from passenger cars and vans to buses and trucks”, the company said.
Meanwhile, BMW’s self-driving ambitions were demonstrated with its Vision iNext concept revealed last year.
Due to hit production in 2021, the road-going iNext model will offer Level 3 and 4 automation, the latter only for testing and pilot programs.

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