GENEVA -- Daimler and BMW want to set an industry standard that can help to shape future regulation for self-driving cars, senior executives said.
The automakers last month signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly develop the next generation of autonomous vehicles. Spiraling development costs for self-driving cars led to the companies teaming up to share the financial and engineering burden, executives explained on Wednesday at a press conference on the sidelines of the Geneva auto show.
"It is a chicken and egg situation. Somebody has to standardize the technology and regulation will follow," said Klaus Froehlich, BMW's board member responsible for development.
With fully autonomous cars that lack drivers, automakers take on potential liability risks arising from accidents, pressuring the industry to clarify technological standards so that regulators can draw up rules.
"It is to push technology forward and to set standards already in generation two vehicles, and not just in generation four. We do not want to waste resources," Froehlich said to explain the collaboration.
"We should not invent this complicated wheel twice. On the path to setting these standards, it makes sense to share some of these investments," Daimler board member Ola Kaellenius said.
BMW and Daimler will form committees to pick potential suppliers of advanced driver assistance systems and autonomous driving technology in the coming four months, executives said.
"Daimler started earlier working on autonomous driving; they have invested in fields of computer vision where the cooperation will benefit from this experience," BMW's Froehlich said.
Kaellenius said BMW and Daimler would develop next generation advanced driver assistance systems for compact and larger cars.
The collaboration is designed to set standards and at a later stage other partners will be invited to join, the executives said.
"Fiat Chrysler is already a partner (with BMW). We want this partner in the future," Froehlich said.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Mike Manley said on Tuesday that he would welcome an opportunity to continue collaborating with BMW on its next-generation autonomous-driving technology.