Why BMW, Mercedes decided to put autonomous vehicles project on hold
German auto rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz had tied up to work on autonomous vehicle technology some time back. It is not often that rivalling carmakers join hands for a collaboration of this sort. But recently, both decided to put off the partnership.
Following extensive review, the two companies have decided to concentrate on their existing development paths – which may also include working with current or new partners. Both explicitly wished to emphasise that cooperation may be resumed at a later date and that the two organisations’ underlying approach to matters such as safety and customer benefits in the field of automated driving remains highly compatible.
"We have systematically further developed our technology and scalable platform with partners like Intel, Mobileye, FCA and Ansys," said Klaus Frohlich, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Development. "Our current technology generation offers very strong, sustainable potential: With extremely powerful sensors and computing power, our robust modular system puts us in an excellent position to offer our customers what they need for many years."
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Markus Schafer, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG; responsible for Daimler Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars COO: "Our expertise complements that of the BMW Group very well, as our successful collaborations have proved. Next to decarbonisation, digitalization is a central strategic pillar for Mercedes-Benz. To prepare for the future challenges of a rapidly changing environment, we are currently also sounding out other possibilities with partners outside the automotive sector."
Both companies also underlined that they would continue working in close cooperation in the remaining fields as planned. In 2015, the two companies joined with Audi AG to acquire the location and technology platform HERE, which now has a very broad and international shareholder structure. In early 2019, the BMW Group and Daimler AG also pooled their mobility services in a joint venture under the umbrella of the NOW family.