BMW teams up with tech firms for driverless cars: source

Thu Jun 30, 2016 7:09am EDT
 
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By Eric Auchard and Edward Taylor

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - BMW (BMWG.DE: Quote) is set to announce an alliance to develop self-driving cars with collision detection specialist Mobileye and computer chip maker Intel, a source familiar with the matter said, as the race to put driverless cars on the road heats up.

The tie-up is likely to focus on technology being developed by Mobileye (MBLY.N: Quote) to give computer-driven vehicles better reflexes without driver input, ushering in an era of self-driving cars early in the next decade, analysts said.

The three companies said they would hold a joint news conference on Friday, without giving details. It will be attended by BMW Chief Executive Harald Krueger, Intel (INTC.O: Quote) CEO Brian Krzanich and Mobileye Chairman and Chief Technology Officer Amnon Shashua, they said.

Automakers and technology firms are striking new alliances to commercialize self-driving cars after being caught off guard by big investments by Silicon Valley companies such as Google (GOOGL.O: Quote), Tesla (TSLA.O: Quote) and Apple (AAPL.O: Quote) into the field.

This week German carmakers, auto-suppliers and map makers HERE and TomTom (TOM2.AS: Quote) agreed a standard that would govern how road and vehicle performance data is transmitted from Internet-connected cars to cloud-based online services, enabling more automated traffic management and car management services.

Earlier in June, BMW, the world's largest luxury carmaker by sales, said it would launch a new flagship model with autonomous driving capability in 2021. (reut.rs/2861tb5)

"We anticipate that Intel has been tapped to provide the (central processor unit) needed at the vehicle level, the computer that coordinates the myriad components of the car in combination with Mobileye's ... software," Evercore financial analyst Arndt Ellinghorst said in note to clients.

Intel is the world's biggest computer chipmaker and has been seeking to break into the market for automotive chips where rivals NXP (NXPI.O: Quote), Renesas (6723.T: Quote), Infineon (IFXGn.DE: Quote) and STMicroelectronics (STM.PA: Quote) have long held sway.   Continued...

 
The logo of Intel is seen during the annual Computex computer exhibition in Taipei, Taiwan June 1, 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu -