It wasn’t that long ago that the idea of BMW teaming up with sworn enemy Mercedes-Benz would have made you the laughing stock at both Munich and Stuttgart, but times are, as Bob Dylan would put it, a-changin’. Both companies are now working together on autonomous driving technologies, and at the time of the tie-up in July, the door was left open for other carmakers to join the fray.
Now, Wirtschaftswoche has reported that Audi wants to complete the German trifecta, with an official announcement expected at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The move would make sense for all three, as they rush to bring fully-autonomous driving to market within the next decade.
Currently, the partnership between BMW and Mercedes’ parent company Daimler focuses on Level 4 driver assistance systems, automated highway driving and automated parking, though it leaves scope for expansion into urban and city driving as well. The goal is to implement these systems into passenger cars by 2024.
However, Audi’s parent Volkswagen already has a partnership with Ford that sees the former investing in the latter’s Argo AI, although that deal is mainly focused on ride sharing and goods deliveries in urban areas. It even resulted in Audi’s own Autonomous Intelligent Driving (AID) company being absorbed into Argo AI.
Perhaps Audi has a multi-pronged approach to autonomous driving, leveraging on the strengths of various joint ventures. Either way, Frankfurt is only a few weeks away, so not long now until we find out what exactly Ingolstadt has in store for the show.