BMW along with partners Intel and Mobileye have announced that about 40 self-driving BMW vehicles are destined to hit public streets for testing by the second half of 2017.
The fleet will be made up of BMW 7 Series vehicles fitted with technology from Intel and Mobileye, the entire suite of which has been designed to scale to different platforms and could even be used by other automakers. The three companies announced a partnership in July of 2016.
BMW is responsible for the driving control, dynamics and overall evaluation of the functional safety of the system along with building a high-performance simulation engine. Production of prototypes and eventually scaling the platform through partners will also be handled by the German automaker.
Intel supplies the brains of the car, with its new Intal GO system offering powerful processors that handle sensor fusion, driving policy, environmental modelling and path planning. Mobileye provides its EyeQ 5 system which processes and interprets the input from the 360-degree surround view vision provided by a number of sensors, made up of radar, lidar and cameras.
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“This partnership has all of the skills and talent necessary to overcome the enormous technological challenges ahead and commercialize self-driving vehicles,” said Klaus Fröhlich, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG for Development. “Therefore, we are already thinking in terms of scalability and welcome other companies – manufacturers, suppliers or technology companies – to participate and contribute to our autonomous platform. This year our fleet of vehicles will already test this joint technology globally under real traffic conditions. This is a significant step towards the introduction of the BMW iNEXT in 2021, which will be the BMW Group’s first fully autonomous vehicle.”
BMW is still planning to launch the BMW iNext model by 2021, complete with a full suite of self-driving technology. The brand says the iNext will serve as the basis for all of its self-driving cars moving forward.