In a surprisingly collaborative move, BMW has revealed that it wants to share data and development expertise with competitors to ensure the driverless car future.
Offering more detail on its roadmap for rolling out its own autonomous cars, BMW, working in collaboration with Intel and Mobileye, an Israeli tech company that develops vision-based driver assistance systems, says it will put a fleet of 40 autonomous test vehicles on the roads by the second half of 2017.
At a joint press conference at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas, the three companies stated that the BMW 7 Series will employ the latest Intel and Mobileye technologies during global trials starting in the US and Europe.
This news comes after the partnership that was announced in July of last year. But today, the three brands talked about the need to develop a scalable architecture that can be adopted by other automotive developers and carmakers.
In a move away from the usual secretive and separated world of automotive development, Klaus Fröhlich, member of the board of management of BMW for development, called for other companies to join the three, saying: “The holy grail of autonomous driving will not be easy to reach. This is why we are partnering with experts. We are thinking in terms of scalability and welcome other companies – manufacturers, suppliers or technology companies – to participate and contribute to our autonomous platform.”
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich added: “We are trying to build an open platform that will benefit other companies wanting to get into this as well. We are already seeing savings and speed in development by sharing costs and in pooling resources.”
Google is already well into developing its own driverless systems, as are Audi, Mercedes and many others, including, supposedly, Apple, but this is the first time such a large brand has explicitly asked competitors to join forces to create a standardised approach to the autonomous platform, one which multiple car companies can then refine and tweak to offer their respective differing models.
There may also be some legislative advantage to having a more standardised autonomous platform base, especially considering that much of the technology needed for autonomous driving has been realised to a greater or lesser extent for years now, however rolling out such functionality has been hampered not only by high costs of the new tech but also the lack of legislation and regulation when it comes to driverless cars.
“This year our fleet of vehicles will test this joint technology under real traffic conditions. This is a significant step towards the BMW iNEXT in 2021, which will be BMW’s first fully autonomous vehicle,” stated Fröhlich.
At the same conference, BMW officially revealed its concept car showing its vision of the future of car interiors.
Read more of the original article at Wired.