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BMW, Daimler team up on automated driving technology

BMW, Daimler team up on automated driving technology
Autos
FRANKFURT -- BMW and Daimler announced Thursday they will work together on developing the automated driving technology expected to transform the industry in the years ahead as the auto industry tries to fend off competition from tech companies such as Uber and Waymo.

The two German companies said it would be a "long-term strategic co-operation" to more quickly come up with advanced driver assistance systems, automated driving on closed spaces such as highways and automated parking.

BMW and Daimler said that by working together, they can shorten development cycles and make "next-level technologies widely available by the middle of the coming decade." The co-operation for now focuses on automation that falls short of fully autonomous vehicles that do not have a driver, but could be extended to that level in the future.

Autonomous driving is part of a wave of technological change expected to shift the auto industry toward offering the use of a car as a service through smartphone apps as an alternative to car ownership.

Klaus Froehlich, chief of development for BMW, said that "combining the strength of our two companies will boost our innovative strength and speed up the spread of this technology."

The announcement specified that for now the companies will work together on technology at what the industry calls levels 3 and 4. Level 3 means the vehicle can detect its surrounds and respond to circumstances, but a driver must be ready to take control at all times. Level 4 means the vehicle can drive itself under some but not all conditions.

The linkup doesn t cancel any work the companies have going with other partners, such as Daimler s pilot program with technology and parts supplier Bosch on self-driving vehicles in California. BMW is working on developing autonomous cars at its campus in Unterschliessheim, north of its Munich headquarters. Daimler is headquartered in Stuttgart.
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