BMW Seeking One More Automaker for Its Self-Driving Car Coalition
The alliance already includes Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and a number of tech companies.
BMW wants one more automaker to join it and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) in the existing autonomous driving alliance before the end of the year, Elmar Frickenstein, BMW's senior vice president of autonomous driving, said in an interview with Automotive News.
FCA joined the partnership, which also includes tech companies Intel and Mobileye and automotive supplier Delphi, back in August. But BMW believes one more automaker is needed to keep the pace of development from slowing. The end-of-year deadline is meant to ensure BMW will have autonomous-driving tech ready to use in its iNext sedan by 2021, Frickenstein told Automotive News.
The iNext, which is also expected to have an electric powertrain, will reportedly launch with Level 3 self-driving capability—meaning it will be capable of fully-autonomous driving, but only in certain situations. BMW may try to bump the iNext up to Level 4 or Level 5—the latter marking complete autonomy with no manual controls.
BMW, Intel, and Mobileye formed the self-driving car partnership last year, later bringing Delphi and FCA onboard. While FCA is the only automaker to join since the partnership was formed, the goal is to create a brand-agnostic autonomous-driving platform that multiple car companies could use.
When it comes to self-driving cars, partnerships are the name of the game. In addition to its association with BMW and company, FCA is partnering with Waymo on self-driving cars. Waymo in turn has a partnership with Lyft, and the ride-sharing company just announced a joint effort with Ford. If self-driving cars ever do become mainstream, they will almost certainly be the result of a team effort.