Image of BMW Series 7 which is being developed as a sel-driven car. Taken from a screenshot in You Tube ads.
(Photo : BMW Australia/You tube)
In the ongoing race to build self-driven cars, BMW AG is pushing towards the second phase of its development process in partnership with Intel Corp and Mobileye NV to get ahead of competitors. It plans to launch fully autonomous cars in four years.
The second step is to take 40 cars of their BMW 7 Series to the road and experience operating them in known urban routes. Klaus Froehlich, the company's head of development, said that the company hopes to amass data on their 40 soon-to-be dispatched cars which they will use for building the next generation iNext series. The iNext Series is projected to become the company's lead model for fully self-driven cars by the year 2021.
Companies that have already gathered information on self-driving car operations include Google, which has teamed up with Alphabet Inc. for 2 million miles of road experience. Tesla leads the way with 1.3 billion miles of road experience with their self-driven cars using the Auto-Pilot technology.
BMW AG is asking other companies for data-sharing which can possibly reduce the high amounts of research expenditures. This position is also held by Mobileye through its chief technology officer and co-founder, Amnon Shashua, who believes data sharing will benefit all concerned especially those who will be first to achieve full autonomous technology.
It is expected that the first to finish a viable self-driving technology will hold the advantage of having their technology as the standard to be used by the industry. Uber Technologies and Volvo cars are expected to work in unison with BMW in dispatching self-driven cars through the road routes in Arizona and Pittsburg.
Other companies like Daimler have not responded to BMW's invitation and will continue conducting their own research on self-driven car technology. The partnerships of different technologies seem to be working. For example, the Jerusalem-based Mobileye that has the advantage of having the most sophisticated camera technology is being complemented by Intel, a California based company that can provide the computer technology to power artificial intelligence in self-driven cars.