As the race to release a fully-autonomous car to consumers gets hotter, BMW is one of the first manufacturers to set a concrete date on when it plans on delivering. The iNEXT is set to hit the market in 2021, a goal edging closer with the announcement of a partnership between BMW, Intel and Mobileye.
The goal of this collaboration is to develop "future-proof" solutions allowing drivers to switch off completely behind the wheel. That means successfully developing technology allowing drivers to push through eyes off (level 3 automation) and mind off (level 4 automation) stages of driving, to the point where they can be totally disengaged from the process.
So, what does each part of the team bring to the table? Well, BMW's role is fairly obvious. Intel will be supplying processors capable of handling the constant stream of information flowing in from sensors and cameras around the car.
"Highly autonomous cars and everything they connect to will require powerful and reliable electronic brains to make them smart enough to navigate traffic and avoid accidents," says Intel CEO Brian Krzanich. "This partnership between BMW Group, Intel and Mobileye will help us to quickly deliver on our vision to reinvent the driving experience. We bring a broad set of in-vehicle and cloud computing, connectivity, safety and security, and machine-learning assets to this collaboration enabling a truly end-to-end solution."
Meanwhile, Mobileye, which developed the technology behind Tesla's AutoPilot system, will help BMW develop systems capable of creating an accurate picture of what's going around the car using sensors and cameras.
"Mobileye is proud to contribute our expertise in sensing, localization and driver policy to enable fully autonomous driving in this cooperation," says Mobileye co-founder Professor Amnon Shashua. "The processing of sensing, like our capabilities to understand the driving scene through a single camera already, will be deployed on Mobileye's latest system-on-chip. In addition, Mobileye Road Experience Management (REM) technology will provide real-time precise localization and model the driving scene to essentially support fully autonomous driving."
The news comes as the NHTSA opens an investigation into Tesla, after a driver was killed while under Autopilot control.