German automakers BMW and Daimler have agreed to team up on automated driving, building on the pair’s already close relationship. Alongside the deal, BMW and Daimler announced that they had finished combining their carsharing services under their recently finalised mobility services joint venture.
As per a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the carmakers, BMW and Daimler will look to develop self-driving technology via scalable architecture covering several stages of automation, with the aim of making the technologies widely available by the middle of the next decade. Moreover, they plan to discuss the possibility of extending the collaboration – which has been described as a ‘long-term, strategic cooperation’ – to cover higher levels of automation on both highways and urban areas.
“As we continue to pursue our strategy, we are combining the expertise of two technology leaders. At the BMW Group, long-term partnerships within a flexible, scalable, non-exclusive platform are fundamental to advancing the industrialisation of autonomous driving. Combining the key expertise of our two companies will boost our innovative strength and speed up the spread of this technology,” said Klaus Fröhlich, member of the board of management of BMW AG, development.
As for the pair’s mobility services joint venture, which was greenlighted by US authorities in December, Daimler’s Car2Go and BMW’s DriveNow have been merged to form Share Now. The carsharing service has a fleet of more than 20,000 BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Smart, and Mini vehicles in 30 cities across Europe and North America, and over 4m members.
Share Now joins Reach Now, Charge Now, Park Now, and Free Now as the five services under the duo’s joint venture.
“Our service improves quality of life in cities because we offer a cost-efficient and flexible alternative to owning a car. And we're still only at the beginning,” said Olivier Reppert, who leads Share Now following his previous role as managing director of Car2Go. “With the joint expertise and resources of two powerful carsharing services, SHARE NOW will continue to grow in the future and convince even more people to opt-in for our flexible mobility service.”