Published on June 22nd, 2020 | by Subhash Nair0
BMW Group and Daimler Halt Cooperation on Self-Driving Tech
It looks like the economic affect of the coronavirus has been painful enough for arch rivals Daimler AG and BMW Group to put some of their plans on pause. Last year, the two decided to cooperate on FREE NOW as well as future autonomous driving technology. While the former seems to still running fine in Europe, co-development of the self-driving tech is being put on hold.
Two reasons were cited for this. Firstly, the cost of developing a shared platform was large. Secondly, the effect of coronavirus on the global economy has made timing of this project disastrous. It’s so bad that BMW will cut thousands of jobs as well.
They both said the project has a possibility of bering resumed later on as long as both companies stay similarly focused on the same values around safety and customer benefits in the field of automated driving.
Here’s the press release with more.
The BMW Group and Mercedes-Benz AG are putting their cooperation on development of next-generation technology for automated driving temporarily on hold. Following extensive review, the two companies have arrived at a mutual and amicable agreement 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.
The BMW Group and Mercedes-Benz AG are both working separately on current generations for highly-automated driving and have achieved major progress in this field in the past. However, the BMW Group and Mercedes-Benz AG were unable to hold detailed expert discussions and talk to suppliers about technology roadmaps until the contract was signed last year. In these talks – and after extensive review – both sides concluded that, in view of the expense involved in creating a shared technology platform, as well as current business and economic conditions, the timing is not right for successful implementation of the cooperation.
“We have systematically further developed our technology and scalable platform with partners like Intel, Mobileye, FCA and Ansys,” said Klaus Fröhlich, 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.”
Markus Schäfer, 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.