automated driving technologies

Global automakers BMW and Mercedes-manufacturer Daimler announced a new partnership on Thursday, regarding automated driving technologies, including levels of automation all the way up to SAE Level 4. It is best defined as full self-driving, no human intervention required. But in certain conditions or domains human would be allowed to take control of steering wheel and brakes, if they are present int he car.

Some 1,200 technicians from the two German auto giants have teamed up together to develop self-driving technologies. The engineers will work toward driver-assistance systems, automated driving on highways as well as parking. The BMW and Daimler partnership includes developing automated driving technologies that precede Level 4. It also contains advanced driver assistance features like smart cruise control and automated parking.

Level 4 vehicles can intervene if things could go wrong or if there is a system failure. The car can perform all functions itself, although a manual override is available to a driver. Authors and experts from both the companies present the automated paper’s principles and findings at the auto industry and technology conferences over the next few months.

BMW further explains that the purpose of the paper is to create a situation where an autonomously-driven vehicle is proven to be safer than one involving full human control. Other participants in the document included Audi, Baidu, Continental, Fiat Chrysler, Here Technologies, Infineon, Intel, Volkswagen, and Aptiv. The reports also aim to draft worldwide industry standards for tackling the risks of self-driving cars and trucks.

Both of the companies are also in talks to continue expanding their cooperation to cover highly-automated driving within denser urban areas and in city driving conditions. It is a non-exclusive arrangement, the new normal in autonomous vehicle technology development, where cross-manufacturer partnerships have been increasingly common. And the results won’t be kept secret and other firms can see the conclusions “under license.”

Moreover, BMW and Daimler have a goal to manufacture a scalable platform for automated driving through their combined efforts.

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The companies said that it is open for participation from both other automakers and tech providers. The resulting platform would also be made available to other OEMs under license. Currently, Daimler is working on deploying its first Level 4/Level 5 self-driving vehicle pilot program in an urban environment in partnership with Bosch, expected to be operational this year. BMW’s next big automated driving push will be alongside its iNEXT lines of vehicles, with Level 3 technologies targeted release along with the first of those models in 2021.

Both BMW and Daimler expect to implement the results of this partnership specifically in their own respective model series vehicles beginning in 2024.

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