Mercedes and BMW have announced that they're working together to develop Level 4 self-driving vehicles that can drive along freeways without human interference.
The two automakers began working together on such cars earlier this year and are looking to have them available by 2024. While the cars will be fully autonomous, a driver will be required at the wheel.
"The BMW Group and Daimler AG are launching their cooperation on automated driving," a press release from BMW reads. "Representatives from the two companies today signed an agreement for a long-term strategic cooperation, which will focus on joint development of next-generation technologies for driver assistance systems, automated driving on highways and automated parking (all to SAE Level 4).
"In addition, further talks are planned to extend the cooperation to higher levels of automation in urban areas and city centres. This underscores the long-term and lasting nature of the undertaking, which will extend to encompass a scalable platform for automated driving. The non-exclusive cooperation is also open to other OEMs and technology partners, with results being made available to other OEMs under license.
"A key aim of the cooperation is the swift market launch of the technology, which is expected to feature in passenger car systems for private customers from 2024. The two companies will each implement the technologies in their respective series products independently."
The vehicles will feature driver assist and automated parking systems which will enable the humanless operation BMW and Mercedes are looking to achieve.
Developing a fully autonomous vehicle in five years, though, will be quite the feat. The companies will share 1,200 autonomous driving experts in mixed teams at BMW's automated driving campus near Munich, Germany, as well as as two Daimler self-driving test centers.
The teams will focus on the development of driver assistance systems such as sensors and a joint data center for the storage of data, administration and processing.
BMW also has plans to unveil a Level 3 self-driving car in 2021, while Daimler is working with Bosch on an urban autonomous pilot program. Both manufacturers aim to have Level 4 self-driving cars that can traverse the Autobahn by 2024.