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BMW says competitors are interested in joining forces on self-driving cars

BMW competitors and ride-hailing companies are thinking about joining its consortium for making self-driving vehicles as auto industry profits come under rising pressure, board member Klaus Froehlich stated.

Automakers and ride-hailing companies have sought to construct self-driving cars as a way to enter the business of smartphone-hailed robotaxis. However, they are getting into a crowded field where the likes of Apple and Alphabet Inc have been flooded billions of dollars into vehicles that can drive themselves.

“Unfortunately, everybody thought they would be the winner and would have an enormous ride-sharing business,” stated BMW board member Klaus Froehlich during an interview with Reuters on the sidelines of the Paris Motor Show.

BMW, however, wanted to spread the expense of investment and started a consortium that now consists Mobileye, Magna, Fiat Chrysler and auto providers Delphi Automotive and Continental AG.

The technology is proving complex and the returns on investment are taking more time to materialize, leading investors to scrutinize whether go-it-alone strategies would be good.

“I have had another German automaker telling, ‘it sounds like we wasted a lot of money’. I also have had contact from tier one suppliers who say ‘lets do a common platform’,” Froehlich stated.

“Some ride-hailing companies have also expressed interest in joining the consortium.”

Froehlich would not be drawn on who might join the consortium other than saying “there may be some news on this next year”.

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