BMW AG and Daimler AG will offer cars capable of navigating on highways by themselves starting in 2024, as the luxury-car rivals cooperate to speed up the development of autonomous vehicles.
They plan to sell cars equipped with so-called Level 4 self-driving technology, meaning the vehicles could manage motorway driving and parking without intervention from the driver, who will remain behind the wheel. The firms will pool some 1,200 experts and are holding talks to extend the partnership to develop robo-taxi technology for urban areas, BMW and Daimler said Thursday.
The German manufacturers signed an initial agreement on autonomous technology in February, deepening their cooperation beyond car sharing and ride hailing. Automakers are reaching out to rivals to share surging costs for new technologies. Volkswagen AG is working with Ford Motor Co. on vans, and may announce a partnership on autonomous vehicles this month.
Both Daimler and BMW have partnerships with other companies to develop self-driving autos. BMW in 2016 began working with Intel Corp., Mobileye NV and others on technology for its iNext vehicle that’s due to go on sale in 2021. The car will have Level 3 autonomy, which means it can operate on its own but requires driver supervision. Daimler is starting a pilot for self-driving vehicles in urban areas this year with partner Robert Bosch GmbH.