German car firms to build self-driving alliance: report

German car firms to build self-driving alliance: report
Germany s biggest carmakers and auto parts suppliers are weighing plans to work together on autonomous driving, according to press reports Wednesday.

Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler, as well as component makers Bosch and Continental, are "examining" a possible alliance, weekly Manager Magazin reported.

On Monday, business daily Handelsblatt reported similar talks between Daimler and BMW, while Bloomberg News reported preliminary discussions in the same direction late last year.

BMW told AFP that "other firms are interested in cooperation" with the Munich-based firm on its "non-exclusive" self-driving platform, which has already roped in Italy s Fiat and chipmaker Intel.

Meanwhile, a Volkswagen spokesman said "strategic partnerships and a sizeable research and development network are essential factors in the success" of automated driving, not least because of the "significant investments" required.

The Wolfsburg-based group is "considering different combined economic projects with other firms all over the world," he added.

For their part, Daimler, Continental and Bosch declined to comment on the press reports.

Volkswagen and Ford last week announced they would cooperate on vans and pickups, aiming to slash production costs, and plan further talks on a partnership in electric and automated vehicles and mobility services.

According to Manager Magazin, the Ford talks failed to reach a more ambitious conclusion as VW boss Herbert Diess prefers to cooperate with other German companies.

The latest reports of talks come as Germany s car industry looks to catch up the head start enjoyed by foreign firms in the areas expected to define the coming decades for the sector.

With massive investments needed, alliances look increasingly attractive to auto bosses, as in the case of Honda s recent investment in General Motors autonomous driving division.

The charge spot prototype developed at the Fraunhofer Institute (Germany) stands out for its portability and compatibility with all types of electric vehicles. (Fraunhofer IISB)
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