Representatives from BMW Group and Daimler have signed a long-term strategic cooperation agreement that will focus on the joint development of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), automated driving on highways and automated parking (all to SAE Level 4).
Further talks are planned to extend the cooperation to higher levels of automation in urban areas and city centers. The non-exclusive cooperation is open to other OEMs and technology partners, with results being made available to other OEMs under license.
A key aim of the cooperation is the swift market launch of Level 4 self-driving technology, which is expected to feature in passenger car systems 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 BMW Group Autonomous Driving Campus in Unterschleissheim, near Munich, the Mercedes-Benz Technology Centre (MTC) in Sindelfingen, and the Daimler Testing and Technology Centre (PTZ) in Immendingen.
Efforts will focus on developing scalable architecture for driver assistance systems, including sensors, as well as a joint data center for data storage, administration and processing, and the development of functions and software.
BMW has been working on highly automated driving since 2006 and currently more than 70 test vehicles are trialling the latest AV technologies. Each vehicle collects data to improve machine learning using artificial intelligence through simulations. The current generation of AV technologies 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 has been working on series development projects not only for specific Level 3 vehicles but also Levels 4 and 5. This year the company will launch its first Level 4/5 AV pilot program in partnership with Bosch in Silicon Valley, California.