German rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz have announced they are joining forces to develop the next generation of driver assistance systems including automated highway driving and parking.
A memorandum of understanding has been signed by the two companies in regards to the development of the technology with the partnership to be viewed as a long-term, strategic cooperation aimed at making these next-level technologies widely available by the middle of the decade.
“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 companies will boost our innovative strength and speed up the spread of this technology,” said Klaus Fröhlich, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development.
Ola Källenius, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development said: “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 noticeable added-value for customers. 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.”
Benefits of the joint venture include access to skills and experience acquired by the individual companies as well as a scalable architecture which will speed up and streamline the implementation of future technologies.
With new tech expected to reach the market faster, with shorter innovation cycles, the safety of vehicle occupants and other road users will benefit from the collaboration.
The joint development work carried out via a scalable architecture will cover several stages of automation with a focus on developing Levels 3 and 4 to enable automated highway driving.
There is also a plan for the two companies to discuss the possibility of extending their collaboration to develop higher levels or automation applicable to both highway and urban areas.
Ongoing development of existing collaborations and current-generation technologies will be unaffected by the agreement and continue as planned. Both companies will also explore partnerships with other technology firms and automotive manufacturers that can assist with developing the platform.
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