Daimler-BMW alliance aims to set standards for self-driving cars

06 March 2019 - 17:40 By Reuters
German car makers Daimler and BMW say they are teaming up to develop autonomous driving technology.
German car makers Daimler and BMW say they are teaming up to develop autonomous driving technology.
Image: Daimler

Daimler and BMW are teaming up to develop autonomous driving technology to cut costs and set industry standards that can help shape future regulation for self-driving cars, senior executives at the companies said on Wednesday.

"It is a chicken-and-egg situation. Somebody has to standardise the technology and regulation will follow," said Klaus Froehlich, BMW's board member responsible for development.

Spiralling development costs for self-driving cars "have forced BMW and Daimler to team up to share the financial and engineering burden," executives told journalists in Geneva.

With fully autonomous cars that lack drivers, manufacturers take on potential liability risks arising from accidents. This has put pressure on the industry to clarify technological standards so regulators can draw up rules.

"It is to push technology forward and to set standards ... We do not want to waste resources," Froehlich said, explaining the collaboration.

"We should not invent this complicated wheel twice. On the path to setting these standards, it makes sense to share some of these investments," said Daimler board member Ola Kaellenius.

BMW and Daimler will form committees to pick potential suppliers of advanced driver- assistance systems and autonomous-driving technology in the coming four months.

"Daimler started earlier working on autonomous driving. They have invested in fields of computer vision, where the co-operation will benefit from this experience," said BMW's Froehlich.

Kaellenius said BMW and Daimler would develop next-generation advanced driver assistance systems for compact and larger cars. The collaboration is designed to set standards and at a later stage other partners will be invited to join, the executives said.

"Fiat Chrysler is already a partner with BMW. We want this partner in the future," said Froehlich.

Fiat Chrysler CE Mike Manley said he would welcome an opportunity to continue collaborating with BMW.