TEL AVIV, Israel -- Software from Israel's Tactile Mobility will be embedded into the BMW's next-generation vehicles beginning in 2021.
The collaboration will equip the vehicles with the ability to analyze the road surface attributes -- everything from potholes and speed bumps to the banking and curvature of a road -- without relying on any visual input from laser scanners or radar.
Tactile Mobility develops software that uses a vehicle's non-visual sensors, including wheel speed, wheel angle, RPM and gear position to help smart and autonomous vehicles "feel" vehicle-road dynamics and road conditions.
This software also can be used to better predict effects on a vehicle’s chassis. For instance, an automaker could gauge the stiffness of a tire’s rubber wall and overall wear and inform the driver that the tire might need to be replaced in about eight weeks.
"With the use of physical modeling, we can feed the real-time data we get from signal processing through our proprietary algorithm to extract previously untapped potential," Tactile Vice President of Business Development Eitan Grosbard told Automotive News Europe in a phone conversation from Israel.
Last October, Tactile Mobility said it had secured $9 million in funding from a group of investors that included Porsche.
In May, the sports car maker said it would use Tactile Mobility's technology in its future vehicles.
The cooperation between BMW and Tactile Mobility began through the BMW Startup Garage, the venture client unit of the BMW Group.
Tactile is in talks with four other automakers including Ford, Grosbard, adding he expect negotiations could yield at least one new contract next year.
"Three of them are mass-market carmakers each representing millions of vehicles coming off the assembly line every year," Grosbard said. "This is not for premium brands only."
Reuters contributed to this report