Except their language is data about vehicle surroundings.
Automakers spend countless millions each year trying to improve their cars to the point that they're better than the competition's, and the effort behind this struggle is huge. However, to make some of the truly impactful changes, some companies are seeing it more beneficial to combine forces and work to raise one another up and forward. Autocar has just uncovered the latest automotive joint task force and it's occurring between Germany's big three.
In order to help cars better understand their surroundings so that they may one day drive themselves, BMW, Mercedes, and Audi have teamed up to send sensor data to supply a company named Here. Here specializes in connected cars and is also owned by all three automakers. The company's goal is to use data about a car's surroundings by taking information picked up by the sensors. Once uploaded to the cloud, the data will be used to help develop more autonomous technology that uses the information gained to pilot themselves more safely. The technology is similar to what Tesla has rolled out with the newest version of its Autopilot system. This deal marks a first of sorts, and not just because of what it's trying to achieve.
What's most impressive about it is that three auto giants that are notorious rivals have teamed up for the greater good, a move that could set the pace for collaboration in the future. If automakers succeed with the deal, other companies could jump on board to help the cause. Still, one of the main challenges faced by Here is the fact that each car sees the world differently. Even more difficult is the fact that the differences quickly become compounded when crossing different automotive brands. To cope, the software gurus at Here will need to normalize the data once it's in the cloud. Still, at least it now appears that Tesla is not alone when it comes to large scale automaker efforts to map the world for autonomous cars.