Automated driving: BMW and Daimler are to join forces

The 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, and automated parking and autobahn driving to SAE Level 4.

Joint development work on this key technology for future mobility is the subject of a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two companies. The BMW and Daimler 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.

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 a noticeable value-add for customers. Working with the right partners, we want to make significant advances in enhancing the performance of this technology and get it ready for the road.
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 organisations will boost our strength as an innovator and speed up the spread of this technology.

The planned cooperation offers the BMW and Daimler 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 autobahns. In addition, the two partners are to discuss the possibility of extending their collaboration to cover higher levels of automation, both on autobahns and in urban areas and cities. These considerations confirm the sustainable, long-term nature of their cooperation, which could be extended to form 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.

The BMW and Daimler will also explore additional partnerships with other technology companies and automotive manufacturers that could contribute to the success of the platform. Ongoing development of latest-generation technologies and existing collaborations will remain unaffected by the projected cooperation and go ahead as planned.

Autonomous driving at the BMW

The BMW 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, and partners the industrialisation and scalability of the technology is being advanced with the support of partners. Brand new agile software in operation at the Campus to speed up development of the platform and set standards in the automotive industry. Around the world, more than 70 test vehicles are trialling state-of-the-art technology to improve machine learning with artificial intelligence and test new Level 2 to 5 functions out on the road. The generation of technologies that is currently under development will enter series production in 2021 in the BMW iNEXT as Level 3 automation and be enabled for Level 4 for pilot projects.

Autonomous driving at Daimler

Daimler has been working on series development projects not only for specific Level 3 vehicles but also for Levels 4 and 5. Long a leader in active safety systems, it programmed its systems largely in-house right from the very beginning. 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. This will be the next milestone within the existing cooperation between both partners and the cooperation will continue as planned. Early next decade, Daimler will bring to the market not only highly automated (Level 3) vehicles but also fully automated (Level 4/5) vehicles. It is the only to the OEM in the world to be so well-positioned to apply autonomous driving in every relevant context, from passenger cars and vans to buses and trucks, and is therefore relying on scalable solutions to deliver automated driving.

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