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BMW, Mercedes-Benz to co-develop autonomous technology

The technology will be ready by the mid-2020s

Arch rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW keep finding new areas of collaboration. After joining forces to take down Uber via a billion-dollar mobility project, the two German companies have announced they will jointly develop the technology needed to power semi-autonomous and autonomous cars.

"The BMW Group and [Mercedes parent company] Daimler AG view their partnership as a long-term, strategic cooperation and aim to make next-level technologies widely available by the middle of the coming decade," they wrote in a joint statement.

The project will spawn a flexible architecture that will cover several stages of automation, up to level four. They haven't ruled out working on a level five system, meaning one that requires non driver whatsoever, but their immediate focus will be on levels three and four. By joining forces, they will be able to combine their expertise -- both companies are already working hard on the technology -- and save a substantial amount of money. In turn, this will help both firms release semi-autonomous and autonomous cars to the public faster than if they continue working alone.

Additional details are slim as of writing. We don't know which side will do what, or who will fund which aspect of the partnership. Both parties agreed they want to bring their jointly-developed technology to the market by the mid-2020s.

Other companies from the automotive and tech industries could join BMW and Mercedes-Benz in their quest for self-driving cars. The joint statement notes the firms are open to working with additional partners on automation, though neither party has revealed who (if anyone) it has in mind.

The announcement confirms a rumor from December 2018. Interestingly, the insiders who broke the news also revealed Daimler and BMW would co-develop vehicle platforms and batteries for electric cars. The companies haven't mentioned these two areas -- yet.

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