BMW’s NEW Bragging rights

Automotive

Published on July 10th, 2016 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez

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BMW’s NEW Bragging rights

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Germany’s premium auto makers are at the center of the country’s global reputation for meticulous engineering.  But with the expected shift in focus from a car’s body to its brains, the risk is that the expertise will accumulate in Silicon Valley or in China, rather than Germany’s car making regions of Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemburg.

BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi are each making an effort to build a hub for automotive software and services. They actually worked together to buy digital map maker from Nokia last year to create a neutral platform where new smart cars can share data on road and traffic conditions.

BMW’s own recent hiring included a 200-strong digital innovation team in Chicago, most of whom had worked for Nokia, the Finnish mobile phone pioneer.

Among the areas Froehlich identified where BMW will still need partners is in cloud computing, the technology of storing data and software remotely and accessing it over the internet. Data gathered from a car’s onboard sensors will be combined with remote information, for example about weather and traffic, using next generation mobile networks, also known as 5G.

The ultimate aim would be to build as much expertise in-house as possible, although there could be mutual benefits from working with new outside suppliers.

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