BMW (OTC:BMWYY) and Mercedes-Benz are shutting down their joint self-driving effort, at least for the moment — though they might work together again in the future.
BMW and Daimler (OTC:DMLR.Y), the corporate parent of Mercedes-Benz, said in a statement on Friday that the timing of their cooperative effort to develop self-driving vehicle technology is "not right," because of the effort and expense required to merge their existing technologies into a single platform.
Both BMW and Mercedes-Benz had been working on automated-driving technology separately for years before agreeing to a technology-sharing partnership in 2019. After reviewing one another's efforts, the partners decided that the challenge and expense of combining the existing work on autonomous driving was too great given the current economic conditions.
"Following extensive review, the two companies have arrived at a mutual and amicable agreement to concentrate on their existing development paths – which may also include working with current or new partners," the companies said in a joint statement.
BMW's research chief Klaus Froelich noted that his company has been part of a joint self-driving development effort with Intel, Aptiv, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, among others, for several years. That effort has made great progress and will continue separately, he said.
The rivals will continue to work together in other areas including mobility and smart mapping, they said, and they may resume working together on self-driving in the future.