Delphi joins BMW partnership to push forward autonomous vehicle technology

17 May 2017

Delphi joins BMW partnership to push forward autonomous vehicle technology

17 May 2017

To highlight its intentions as a leader in autonomous vehicle technology, German manufacturer BMW has added Delphi to its list of partners developing Level 4 and 5 systems, with the aim of bringing self-driving cars to market by 2021.

Delphi joins Intel and Mobileye as a partner to BMW, with the group working on technology that will make vehicles fully autonomous, with little or no need for human intervention. The group is attempting to develop a blueprint which the industry can benefit from, and is open to more companies, from manufacturers to suppliers, joining the scheme.

In the current set-up, Intel will build chips for vehicle computers, with Mobileye providing sensors and Delphi creating the platforms that can integrate the technology into vehicles. The intended aim is not just to allow seamless integration, but to also bring the price of such systems down by making them easy to build and fit into vehicles with less effort, unlike current systems which are bulky and unsightly.

Klaus Fröhlich, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG for Development, says: ‘From the very beginning we designed our cooperation on a non-exclusive platform for this technology of the future. With the onboarding of Delphi we significantly strengthen our development of the automated driving and make a future step in spreading this technology across the industry.’

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich adds: ‘The partnership between BMW, Intel and Mobileye continues to break new ground in the auto industry. In less than one year the joint teams have made substantial progress to deliver a scalable platform for autonomous driving and are on path to deliver 40 pilot cars in second half of this year. Adding Delphi as an integration partner will help to accelerate the introduction of autonomous cars on the streets from multiple carmakers and offer differentiation to customers.’

The path for autonomous vehicle technology is one which the automotive industry is treading more confidently as technology develops. BMW’s plans are seen by the company as for the good of the entire market and the manufacturer is expecting further partnership announcements as the interest in fully driverless vehicles grows. Technology companies too are keen to be involved. While working together in the cooperation, Intel bought Mobileye for €14.4 billion in March 2017 to take advantage of developments.

Delphi has itself signalled a change in strategy towards autonomous and connected vehicle technology. At the beginning of May 2017, it announced plans to spin out its powertrain division, moving it away from petrol and diesel engines, after talks with Continental about buying the business collapsed. The new business will cover internal combustion engine and hybrid systems while safety sensors and connected technology will continue to be provided by the core Delphi business.

The company’s powertrain division has revenues of $4.5 billion (€4 billion) and it is expected that 20,000 staff will continue when the section is spun out.

Speaking when the announcement was made, Kevin Clark, president and CEO of Delphi, commented: ‘This announcement represents an exciting opportunity for our businesses by creating two independent companies, each with a distinct product focus, a proven business model, and the flexibility to pursue accelerated investments in advanced technologies that solve our customers’ most complex challenges. At a time of unprecedented industry change, the underlying strength of both our operating businesses and strategic partnerships will allow each company to focus even more sharply on its unique opportunities, continue to develop the very best advanced technologies, and help our customers navigate the road ahead.’

Delphi has already provided a prototype compute platform to the BMW Group and is working together with Intel and Mobileye in the areas of perception, sensor fusion, and high performance automated driving computing.

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