Daimler AG and BMW Group recently announced their long-term strategic cooperation, which will focus on the joint development of next-generation technologies for driver assistance systems, automated driving on highways and automated parking. All these systems will match up to SAE’s (Society of Automotive Engineers) Level 4 automation standards. In addition, further talks are planned to extend the Daimler and BMW cooperation to higher levels of automation in urban areas and city centres. The non-exclusive cooperation is also open to other automotive manufacturers and technology partners, with results being made available to other OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturer) under license.
Not only has Daimler AG been working on a series of development projects for specific Level 3 vehicles but has also started working for Levels 4 and 5. By the start of 2021, Daimler is hoping to launch (Level 3) automated vehicles along with the (Level 4/5) automated versions. Daimler is the only OEM in the world which is so well-positioned to apply autonomous driving in every relevant context, from passenger cars and vans to buses and trucks and is, therefore, relying on scalable solutions to deliver automated driving.
On the other hand, 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, the results in this area have strengthened at the Autonomous Driving Campus in Unterschleissheim, just north of Munich, and the industrialisation of this technology is being improved with the support of partners. The technology’s unique scalability from Level 2 – 4, both enables a high level of flexibility and ensures it will be viable in the future. The generation of technologies that is currently under development will go into production as Level 3 automation by early 2021 in the BMW iNEXT where it will also be a Level 4 system that is enabled for pilot projects.
The key aim of this partnership is the swift market launch of the new technologies, which are expected to feature in passenger car systems for private customers from 2024. The two companies will each implement these technologies in their respective product line-ups independently. The merger will see more than 1,200 specialists working together, often in mixed teams and 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 efforts are focused on developing a scalable architecture for driver assistance systems, including sensors, as well as a joint data centre for data storage, administration and processing, and the development of functions and software.