German giants will go it alone.
The working relationship between BMW and Mercedes-Benz has lasted merely a year.
In July of 2019, these two titans of the global automotive industry announced they would enter a joint-venture technology partnership, with the aim of developing autonomous driving technology.
Although BMW and Mercedes-Benz command significant R&D resources between them and employ some of the world’s most talented engineers, the cost of autonomous technology is enormous. After doing the numbers last year, BMW and Mercedes-Benz decided that dividing work and leveraging their capital investment between each other, would be best.
The aim of BMW and Mercedes-Benz’s autonomous driving project was to deliver a host of new features to their road cars, by 2024. These included next-generation driver assistance systems and comprehensive automated parking functions – none of which will now happen in partnership.
BMW and Mercedes-Benz have announced that the autonomous drive technology joint-venture has now been dissolved. Each brand will pursue its own research in the field of driver assistance systems, using technology partners such as Bosch and Continental.
This latest industry cooperation failure illustrates that the surge in digital technology requirements is proving a huge challenge for traditional car companies to manage.
Even the most established manufacturers and brands, such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz, where technology has always been a bedrock of the business, are struggling to tame the autonomous vehicle cost curve.