The three leaders from the automotive, technology and computer vision and machine learning industries are collaborating to bring solutions for highly and fully automated driving into series production by 2021.

According to the three companies, autonomous driving promises a lot of positive changes, but getting to a fully autonomous mode is a difficult and complicated task. It will require end-to-end solutions that integrate intelligence across the network, from door locks to the data center.

Together with Intel and Mobileye, the BMW Group plans to bring these technologies into series production by 2021, after developing the necessary solutions and innovative systems for highly and fully automated driving. Specifically, the BMW iNEXT model will set the basis for their work and will represent the foundation for BMW Group's autonomous driving strategy as well as for fleets of fully autonomous vehicles that will drive not only on highways but also in urban environments. Already in 2017 the first prototype is expected to test the new technologies on the road.

The three companies intend to develop solutions that will enable the drivers to do much more than just take their hands off the steering wheel. On level 3 they will be able to reach the so called "eyes off" and on level 4 the "mind off" driving mode. These will enable the driver to leave the driving to the car, while they relax or spend some work time. Eventually, the car would be able to reach level 5, the final stage of autonomous traveling "driver off", meaning there would be no human driver inside the passenger cabin. This means that there could be self-driving fleets established by 2021, opening ways to entirely new business models in a connected, mobile world.

Manufacturers also expressed their commitment to strive for an industry standard and define an open platform for autonomous driving. It would address level 3 to level 5 automated driving and would be made available to various car vendors and industries.

July 4, 2016 Driving photo: BMW

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