Earlier this year in February, BMW and Daimler joined hands to invest more than €1 billion in a new venture which will encompass transportation services across the U.S. and Europe. And now, these automobile behemoths are launching a partnership to develop an automated driving system.
This collaboration will include development of technologies for driver assistance systems, automated driving and automated parking. The technology born from this alliance will be independently employed within their respective series vehicles.
The collaboration will bring together 1,200 specialists working in centers based in various locations including BMW Group Autonomous Driving Campus in Unterschleissheim, the Mercedes-Benz Technology Center (MTC) in Sindelfingen and the Daimler Testing and Technology Center in Immendingen.
This year, in May, BMW experienced its first loss in a decade as car prices dropped. Its earnings fell 42% to €1.1 billion. To deal with the profit drop, the company had declared a €12 billion saving plan. Daimler’s condition too, isn’t any better. Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz Vans division lost €98 million in its first quarter. Also, the company issued a profit warning over diesel issues at the beginning of 2019.
So, BMW-Daimler collaboration seeks not only to develop automated driving technologies but also to stabilize their current economic condition in the automobile market.
Automated driving isn’t new for BMW. The company has been working on automated driving system since 2006. This technology is being trialed in 70 vehicles around the globe and the collected data from these trials is being used to improve the system. The technology developed from the collaboration will go into series production in 2021 in BMW iNEXT as Level 3 automation.
While Daimler is working with Bosch to launch its first pilot program this year on self-driving cars this year. The company plans to bring Level 4/5 automated vehicles in market within the next decade.
The collaboration will bring together these technologies that were developed independently by each company and improve it further. It should be noted that the cooperation will be non-strategic and the technologies developed through this collaboration will be available to other Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) under license.
The joint venture signed by the auto-giants earlier this year, includes businesses like car-sharing, taxi services, multi-modal services, digital parking solutions and electric vehicle charging. Now, development of autonomous driving technology marks another long-term strategic cooperation between the companies, strengthening their ties.