BMW has set itself the target of bringing a fully autonomous car to public roads by 2021. At a press conference on Friday at its Munich HQ, the German carmaker revealed that it is partnering with Intel and Mobileye in order to accelerate technological, sensing and machine-learning development alongside the innovations already achieved.
“At the BMW Group we always strive for technological leadership,” said Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG “Following our investment in high definition live map technology at HERE, the combined expertise of Intel, Mobileye and the BMW Group will deliver the next core building block to bring fully automated driving technology to the street.”
Until now, the industry consensus has been that autonomous cars are still a decade away from becoming a reality — that we will move, step by step from individual semi-autonomous features, such as autonomous emergency braking and lane keeping to vehicles that are akin to a robot chauffeur.
“Highly autonomous cars and everything they connect to will require powerful and reliable electronic brains to make them smart enough to navigate traffic and avoid accidents,” said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich. “This partnership between BMW Group, Intel and Mobileye will help us to quickly deliver on our vision to reinvent the driving experience. We bring a broad set of in-vehicle and cloud computing, connectivity, safety and security, and machine-learning assets to this collaboration enabling a truly end to end solution.”
The driving force behind this partnership and its ambitious goals is not the competition, but rather safety. BMW wants to be able to offer the technologies the partnership develops as a package or a platform that others can integrate into their future models.
And the first step towards that platform will be a new prototype car that can deliver level-3 autonomy (known as eyes-off driving) by 2017. It will then morph into a fleet of autonomous cars by 2021 capable of the next two steps — “mind-off” and then “driver-off” autonomy.
“Mobileye is proud to contribute our expertise in sensing, localization, and driver policy to enable fully autonomous driving in this cooperation,” said Mobileye Co-Founder, Chairman and CTO Professor Amnon Shashua. “Today marks an important milestone for the automotive industry as we enter a world of new mobility. [We are] laying the groundwork for the technology of future mobility that enables fully autonomous driving to become a reality within the next few years.”
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