Daimler AG and BMW Group, often bitter rivals, signed off on agreement to continue cooperating on the development of automated driving.
The agreement calls for long-term strategic cooperation between the two companies, focusing on joint development of next-generation technologies for driver assistance systems, automated driving on highways and automated parking.
In addition, the joint announcement also said “further talks are planned to extend the cooperation to higher levels of automation in urban areas and city centers.”
The non-exclusive cooperation is also open to other OEMs and technology partners, with results being made available to other OEMs under license. The agreement between the two German auto giants and long-time rivals underscores the challenges even rich carmakers face as they venture into a future with driverless vehicles.
The two have already published a white paper, entitled Safety First for Automated Driving, in partnership with Aptiv, Audi, Baidu, Continental, Fiat Chrysler, HERE, Infineon, Intel and Volkswagen. The paper was published on July 2.
It not only covers all relevant safety methods for Level 3/4 SAE automated driving, but also introduces a traceability system, which extends from the primary goal – being safer than the average driver – right down to the individual safety objectives of the various components.
The two companies said a key aim of the cooperation is the swift market launch of the technology, which is expected to feature in passenger car systems for private customers from 2024. The two companies will each implement the technologies in their respective series products independently.
The cooperation will see more than 1,200 specialists working together, often in mixed teams. They will be based at locations including the Mercedes-Benz Technology Centre (MTC) in Sindelfingen, the Daimler Testing and Technology Centre in Immendingen and the BMW Group Autonomous Driving Campus in Unterschleissheim, near Munich.
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 and the industrialization of the technology is being advanced with the support of other partners.
Around the world, more than 70 BMW test vehicles are testing the latest technology and collecting 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.
Daimler AG has been working on series development projects not only for specific Level 3 vehicles but also for Levels 4 and 5. Early next decade, Daimler will bring to the market not only highly automated Level 3 vehicles but also fully automated Level 4 and 5 vehicles.