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BMW to develop driverless car testing center in Munich

BMW want to speed up testing and research of driverless cars. (Photo: BMW)

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Angelo Rychel
Angelo Rychel
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The German OEM plans to build a research facility for 2,000 employees dedicated to autonomous driving.

In their quest to have a fully autonomous vehicle on the road by 2021, BMW are shifting up a gear. The German carmaker will develop a major testing and research campus close to its Munich headquarters. “Autonomous driving has been an incremental process that we now want to accelerate with the center,” a BMW spokesman told German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. The company will also create hundreds of new jobs.

At the moment, approximately 1,000 software engineers and IT experts spread over several BMW facilities are focusing on self-driving cars. The new research campus will be home to 2,000 employees and will feature a testing ground for driverless cars. BMW is already trialing driverless prototypes in the Munich region but so far didn’t have their own test track.

The exact location of the campus has yet to be determined. BMW are examining several sites and plan to start building in 2017. The BMW spokesman said that while the focus of the campus will be on self-driving mobility, other future topics like connectivity, electric mobility and hydrogen vehicles will also be test subjects at the site.

BMW’s strategic goal is to release a car with level 5 automation in 2021. For this purpose, the premium OEM has teamed up with chip maker Intel and Israeli tech company Mobileye. Competitors like Audi, Ford and General Motors have announced similar plans – with Tesla even claiming to have set late 2017 for the release of a fully autonomous vehicle.

Read the full Süddeutsche Zeitung article (German) here.

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