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BMW, Daimler to partner on self-driving tech development

The two recently merged mobility efforts, as well.

BMW, Daimler

In December, a report claimed that BMW and Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler were eyeing another partnership, this time focusing on developing tech for autonomous vehicles. Now, the automakers have confirmed that tie-up, the second such partnership between these two bitter rivals within the span of a week.

BMW and Daimler announced on Thursday that the two are planning a "long-term strategic cooperation" covering autonomous tech. The two will focus on boosting driver-assist systems first, largely focused on highway-driving assistance and automated parking. The hope is that these systems will reach the market by the mid-2020s.

"Instead of individual, stand-alone solutions, we want to develop a reliable overall system that offers noticeable added value for customers," said Ola Källenius, Daimler's board member for research and development, in a statement. "Working with the right partners, we want to make significant advances in enhancing the performance of this technology and bring it safely on the road."

"At the BMW Group, long-term partnerships within a flexible, scalable, non-exclusive platform are fundamental to advancing the industrialization of autonomous driving," said Klaus Fröhlich, a BMW board member, in a statement. "Combining the key expertise of our two companies will boost our innovative strength and speed up the spread of this technology."

While the two might be working on SAE Level 3 and Level 4 technology to start, the two hope that they can eventually move to more advanced autonomy tech in the future. Both companies will explore other tech partnerships that could bring even more benefit to the scalable architecture at the heart of this partnership. The two will still remain sales rivals, though.

This is the second tie-up announced within the past week between these German automakers. Late last week, the pair announced that they are merging their mobility services into five joint ventures, each with its own dedicated field such as parking, multimodal transport or electric-vehicle charging.