VW, BMW Consider More Cooperation Efforts for Self-Driving Cars

(Bloomberg) -- Volkswagen AG and BMW AG remain open to teaming up with more manufacturers and software providers worldwide to share the huge cost of developing self-driving cars and boost economies of scale for a nascent technology that’s set to play a key role in future mobility.

“VW is pursuing the approach of an open platform to include as many partners as possible,” the world’s largest automaker said Wednesday in an emailed statement. Strategic partners and a broad network is essential to success, it said, without giving details.

VW Chief Executive Officer Herbert Diess is one of the key drivers behind a plan to join forces with German peers Daimler AG and BMW, as well as parts suppliers Robert Bosch GmbH and Continental AG, Manager Magazin reported Wednesday. A decision on forging a German alliance for autonomous driving might be made in March, according to the report.

Developing autonomous is proving to be one of the most costly and complex projects for automakers and software makers alike. Given the challenges of operating a driver-less car in urban areas rife with traffic and pedestrians, the main focus for now is on slow-moving shuttles and trucks on designated routes.

BMW echoed VW’s statement, saying it’s “very successfully” pursuing a non-exclusive platform, working with rivals, suppliers and new tech companies alike. The Munich-based luxury-car maker is already collaborating with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV as well as Intel Corp. and Mobileye NV.

VW last year joined Baidu’s autonomous-driving platform in China and separately cooperates with Aurora, a startup formed by one-time executives from similar projects at Google, Tesla Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc. It’s also considering teaming up with Ford Motor Co.

Daimler, which cooperates with Bosch for their self-driving car push, declined to comment. Bloomberg News reported on Dec. 20 that Daimler is discussing joint projects with BMW to share the burden of key components and autonomous vehicles.

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