BMW to launch fleet of autonomous vehicles in partnership with Intel and Mobileye

BMW is developing an autonomous car in a partnership with Intel and Mobileye - image courtesy of Mobileye.

BMW Group, Intel and Mobileye are set to test a fleet of 40 autonomous vehicles later this year as part of a joint partnership between the three companies in a huge step towards making autonomous driving a reality.

The BMW fleet will be on the roads by the second half of 2017 in preparation for the introduction of the BMW iNEXT in 2021, the automakers first fully autonomous vehicle.

Member of the board of management of BMW AG for Development, Klaus Frohlich, said making autonomous driving a reality was the main goal of the company’s partnership with Intel and Mobileye.

“Making autonomous driving a reality for our customers is the shared ambition behind our cooperation with Intel and Mobileye,” he said. “This partnership has all the skills and talent necessary to overcome the enormous technological challenges ahead and commercialize self-driving vehicles,

“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 automated vehicle.”

The testing of the autonomous fleet is a result of the partnership between BMW, Intel and Mobileye which was announced last July. The companies have since developed a scalable architecture that can be adopted by other automotive developers and carmakers to pursue state of the art designs and create differentiated brands.

The offerings scale from individual key integrated modules to a complete end-to-end solution providing a wide range of differentiated consumer experiences. As part of the partnership, the BMW 7 series will employ cutting edge technology supplied by Intel and Mobileye during global trials. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said the partnership was breaking new ground.

“From an industry perspective, we are already seeing savings and speed in development by sharing development costs and in pooling resources to develop a complete autonomous platform,” he said.

“The car to cloud system will perform with consistent, predictable behaviour and is validated to the highest level of safety. That’s why this partnership is breaking new ground, we have established a dedicated team with clear, shared goals and a culture of innovation and agility and accountability.”

Project responsibilities for BMW, Intel and Mobileye

Each of the three companies brings something unique to the autonomous driving project. BMW will be responsible for driving control and dynamics, evaluation of overall functional safety including setting up a high performance simulation engine, overall component integration, production of prototypes and eventually scaling the platform via deployment partners.

Intel brings innovative high performance computing elements which span from the vehicle to the data center, which include the Intel GO automated driving solutions system which offers a world-class processor and FPGA technologies and a scalable development and compute platform for critical functions such as sensor fusion, driving policy, environment modelling, path planning and decision making.

Mobileye is contributing its EyeQ5 high-performance computer vision processor which offers automotive-grade functional safety and low-power performance. The EyeQ5 is responsible for processing and the interpretation of input from the 360-degree surround view vision sensors as well as localization, while also forming part of the Central Computing Program to be integrated into every autonomous vehicle.

Mobileye will also collaborate with the BMW Group to develop the sensor fusion solution to create a full model of the environment surrounding the vehicle, as well as developing the reinforcement algorithms needed to give the vehicle the artificial intelligence required to safely navigate and negotiate complex driving situations.