BMW creates a new development centre for autonomous driving

BMW creates a new development centre for autonomous driving

BMW Goup

The BMW iNEXT is scheduled for release in 2021 – self-driving, electric and fully connected. A whole range of highly-automated models from all BMW Group brands are set to follow. To achieve this aim, the BMW Group is combining its development expertise in vehicle connectivity and automated driving. This will happen at a new campus in Unterschleissheim near Munich and will take the project to the next level.

Upon final completion, more than 2,000 employees will work on the next steps of the project at the new location. “The road to fully-automated driving is an opportunity for Germany’s automobile manufacturing base”, explains Klaus Fröhlich. Fröhlich is a member of the Board of Management and is responsible for Development at the BMW Group.

From mid-2017, expertise currently distributed across several different locations will be all in Unterschleissheim

“In order to succeed, we are establishing new forms of collaboration under “project i 2.0”. There will be small teams of specialists for rapid response and collaboration across the company, as well as a high level of individual decision-making authority,” explains Fröhlich. The new work structures will consist of agile teams, short distances – and, above all, short decision making processes.

Software developers will be able to take the code right across the way for testing in an actual vehicle

The campus will combine the advantages of a 181start-up with those of an established company. There will be flexibility and speed on one side and security and industrialisation expertise on the other. The company is taking the advantages from both worlds as well as implementing them in a future project. The BMW Group aims to start testing highly automated vehicles in the urban environment, in Munich, as early as 2017.

The BMW Group currently employs around 600 people in development of highly automated driving. The majority are software developers and their number is increasing. The company is looking for specialists while developing the new campus.

“We still do our own programming here and are responsible for implementing our own ideas,” explains André Müller. He is a software developer in the autonomous driving team.

“We use the latest technologies, such as ROS (Robot Operating System). It lets us see the results quickly and directly in the vehicle. It is extremely exciting to be working on such an important area for the future.”

André Müller is eager to welcome new colleagues. With the campus in Unterschleissheim, the BMW Group continues to expand its development of highly automated vehicles. It is also looking for IT specialists and software developers in the areas of artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analysis.

BMW established the i brand three years ago and opted to develop a separate vehicle architecture and BMW eDrive technology. BMW i3is designed for locally emissions-free mobility in an urban environment, while the future-oriented plug-in hybrid sports car BMW i8 combine Sheer Driving Pleasure with a premium character. That is consistently geared towards sustainability, including the use of resource-efficient production methods and materials. This also appeals to new customers: more than 80% of BMW i3 customers worldwide are new to BMW.