BMW Group and Daimler will partner on self-driving cars, the two automakers announced Thursday.
The announcement follows last week's briefing on a 50:50 joint-venture company BMW and Daimler have set up to oversee all of their various mobility services under the one roof.
In the area of self-driving cars, BMW and Daimler aim to develop a scalable platform for the technology. The two are also open to exploring additional partnerships, including with firms outside the automotive sector, to help accelerate development of the platform.
"Instead of individual, stand-alone solutions, we want to develop a reliable overall system that offers noticeable added-value for customers," Daimler R&D chief Ola Källenius said. “Working with the right partners, we want to make significant advances in enhancing the performance of this technology and bring it safely on the road.”
The two will focus initially on developing electronic driver aids, including Level 4 self-driving systems for highway driving and parking. The aim is to have these available by the middle of the next decade. Level 4 means a car can operate without a driver in select conditions and can safely stop should a driver fail to take back control outside of those conditions.
The long-term goal for both automakers is to develop cars that can handle themselves in all conditions expected of a human driver, i.e. a Level 5 self-driving car. BMW and Daimler are still in negotiations in this regard.
Both automakers have worked independently on self-driving technology for years and are expected to start offering the first fully self-driving features to the public as early as 2021, though these will be very limited. Daimler has also committed to launching a fully self-driving service on a trial basis in Silicon Valley later this year.