German top-of-the-range car maker BMW announced on Friday that it is joining forces with US computer chip giant Intel and the Israeli technology firm Mobileye to develop self-driving cars. The three companies “are collaborating to bring solutions for highly and fully automated driving into series production by 2021,” they said in a joint statement. The news comes amid growing interest in self-driving cars following tests over the past few years by Google and research by several major automakers. “BMW, Intel and Mobileye are convinced that automated driving technologies will make travel safer and easier,” they said. The aim of the collaboration was to develop solutions that would enable drivers not only to take their hands off the steering wheel, but also reach a stage where they could also take their eyes of the road and ultimately their mind off driving, the statement continued.
The final stage would then be “driver off”, or without a human driver inside. “This establishes the opportunity for self-driving fleets by 2021 and lays the foundation for entirely new business models in a connected, mobile world,” the partners said.