If everything goes to plan, drivers will be able to do freeway speeds while reading a book in 2024.
The race to autonomy isn't a sprint and if it ever happens then it'll come in stages. BMW and Daimler have announced they are now fully cooperating to make autonomous cars driving on the freeway a reality in 2024. According to Reuters, the agreement to develop automated driving technology will focus on assisted driving systems, automated driving on highways, and automated parking as the finalization of an agreement previously struck in February. The joint project will involve around 1,200 developers at BMW and Daimler pooling their resources but implementing the tech in both company's cars independently.
The decision for two directly competing brands to come together on such a big project comes from shrinking profit margins from trying to fund such intensely time and money consuming research and development. After all, it's not just the traditional automakers that are racing to be first to market with true autonomous systems, but the computer tech industry as well. Tech giants Apple is still quietly working on autonomous systems and Google has recently renewed its interest in self-driving cars. Then while all this is happening, Ford and Volkswagen are also in talks about joining forces for autonomous tech and an announcement is expected later this month.
For the 2024 target, BMW and Mercedes plan to be selling cars with what's generally known as Level 4 self-driving technology, which means no driver intervention is necessary, and are extending the partnership to include automated taxi development for suburban areas.
This isn't both companies only play by a long shot as Mercedes and BMW do already have partnerships in self-driving technology. Mercedes is currently working with Robert Bosch GmbH to start a pilot for self-driving cars for urban areas this year, while BMW is still working with Intel Corp and Mobileye NV for the 2021 slated iNext vehicle and its level-3 automated driving technology. The iNext will have Level-3 technology and that means the car can drive itself but needs driver supervision.