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BMW, Intel, Mobileye Join Race for Self-driving Cars

The logo of German manufacturer BMW is seen in Zurich, Switzerland, June 10, 2016.

BMW, Intel and Mobileye, an Israel-based sensor technology firm, said they are teaming up to develop self-driving car technology that will be ready for production early in the next decade.

At a joint news conference held Friday outside Munich, Germany, the three companies announced plans to offer self-driving cars by 2021.

In spite of occasional accidents, such as this week’s fatal crash of a Tesla car driving on auto-pilot, big technology companies are in a tight race for the new technology, which is expected to actually reduce the number of car accidents.

Tesla’s Model S and several other high-end cars already have limited autonomous driving capabilities, which allow them to automatically brake, steer and accelerate at low speeds, but drivers must keep their hands on the wheel.

Experts say much improvement is required before the self-driving cars will be able to safely carry their passengers under all conditions.

Mobileye is well known as a developer of camera-based sensors, while the world’s biggest microprocessor maker, Intel, is expected to provide a new computer platform capable of processing the huge amount of data coming from them.

Volkswagen, General Motors and Nissan also formed an alliance with the goal of developing a standardized self-driving system for their cars, while Google and Apple are working on similar systems.

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