Daimler and BMW strengthens their alliance on Thursday to share increasing development costs for automated driving technologies, even as each automaker pursues separate tasks to develop completely self-driving cars.
The huge price of designing and building computer-powered vehicles has currently prompted Honda to pool its efforts with General Motors, where as Volkswagen is in talks with Ford about an alliance on autonomous vehicles.
BMW and Daimler strengthened their alliance for same factors, Michael Hafner, head of automated driving at Mercedes-Benz research and development stated in a blog post that accompanied a joint press release by the firms on Thursday.
“We have learned that the development of these systems is a bit like climbing a mountain,” he stated.
“Taking the first few meters from the base station to the summit seems easy. But the nearer you come to the goal, the thinner the air around you becomes, the more strength is needed for each further step, and the more complex become the challenges you have to sort out.”
It made sense to share the technological and financial challenges of automated driving, Hafner stated, so BMW and Daimler will jointly develop technology to sllow automated driving on highways.
BMW and Daimler’s decision comes as even deep pocketed technology companies are having a hard time to gain traction in autonomous driving. Apple Inc reportedly planned on Wednesday to fire 190 employees in its self-driving car program, Project Titan.
BMW and Daimler already work together in high-definition mapping with HERE and in the area of procurement, and previously this month revealed a joint ride-hailing, parking and electric vehicle charging business.
They stated on Thursday their recent partnership will center on so-called level 3 and level 4 automated driving technologies, consisting of cars that still need steering wheels and drivers.
Daimler will continue a separate development alliance for level 5 robotaxis between its own brand Mercedes-Benz and auto parts supplier Robert Bosch. Level 5 cars need no motorist.
BMW, for its part, still continues its alliance for robotaxis with
chip maker Intel and Israeli auto tech company Mobileye, in order to put autonomous cars on the road by 2021.