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Driverless technology: BMW and Daimler combine for autonomous cars



Companies, competing in the lucrative luxury car market, announced Thursday a strategic partnership focused on highly automated and autonomous driving.

"The combination of the key expertise of our two companies will strengthen our strength of innovation and accelerate the spread of this technology", BMW (BMWYY) board member Klaus Fröhlich said in a statement.
This is not the only way for owners of BMW and Mercedes-Benz Daimler (DDAIF) start working more closely together.

Michael Hafner, an executive working on autonomous driving at Mercedes-Benz, said the two projects were complementary.

"The field of activity is completely different, but the partner is the same and the motivations at least similar," he wrote in a blog post regarding Thursday's announcement.

BMW CEO Harald Krueger shakes hands last week with Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche.

Closer cooperation between German companies is the latest example of partnerships between well-established car manufacturers to share the costs of developing new technologies, including autonomous driving systems.

Hafner said the alliance was logical because automated driving "would radically transform our industry – and because in the long run we would not only be stronger, but also more efficient as partners.

The companies indicated that they would initially focus on driver assistance systems, automated highway driving and parking devices. They signed a memorandum of understanding.

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Other world manufacturers have also joined forces.

Ford (F) and Volkswagen (VLKAF) announced a plan in January to build vehicles together. The companies also agreed to examine how they could collaborate to develop next-generation vehicles.
The trend towards cooperation has accelerated as automakers are under increasing pressure from technology companies such as Uber and Google (GOOGL) Parent alphabet.
Upstarts like You're here (TSLA) and new combinations, such as the joint effort of General Motors (GM), SoftBank (SFTBF) and Honda (HMC) develop fully autonomous vehicles, are also shaking the future of the industry.

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