By on August 22, 2019

With BMW and Daimler already getting cosy via their autonomous vehicle partnership, the duo plans on bringing self-driving (SAE Level 4) tech to the masses by 2024. While other automakers have promised more advanced autonomy on a shorter timeline, the reality of the situation is that true self-driving capabilities are proving difficult and expensive to produce. By partnering up, the Germans believe they can continue their quest while sharing the financial burden of development.

The more the merrier, apparently. According to Germany’s Wirtschaftswoche, Audi will be the next guest to arrive at the party. Daimler and BMW’s previous release stipulated that the pair would focus on the joint development of next-generation technologies for driver assistance systems, automated driving on highways, and automated parking — with the goal of seeing those technologies adapted for passenger vehicles by 2024. 

Audi’s official announcement isn’t expected to come until September, likely taking place at the IAA Motor Show in Frankfurt. Wirtschaftswoche notes that, because none of the automakers have let anything slip via the typical channels, that could be subject to change. It also noted that Volkswagen’s alliance with Ford will remain intact.

While that could be due to Audi’s premium nature being more in line with the likes of BMW and Mercedes-Benz, Ford and VW are also working on fully (SAE Level 5) autonomous vehicles. Rumors have gone so far as to suggest that some of their commercial prototypes don’t even have a steering wheel.

Expect more details on how Audi’s involvement will change the makeup of the partnership next month. The deal currently utilizes over 1,200 specialists broken into small teams. The mixed groups operate collaboratively at several locations, including the Mercedes-Benz Technology Centre (MTC) in Sindelfingen, the Daimler Testing and Technology Centre in Immendingen, and the BMW Group Autonomous Driving Campus in Unterschleissheim.

In July, Daimler reported that members are currently focused on “developing a scalable architecture for driver assistance systems, including sensors, as well as a joint data centre for data storage, administration and processing, and the development of functions and software.”

[Image: Volkswagen Group]


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