BMW is moving toward an autonomous future.
Company's like Google have been mapping the world's roads with a few cameras at a time, but BMW is hoping to accelerate the mapping process by unleashing an army of camera-equipped vehicles.
BMW announced on Tuesday that it is partnering with Mobileye to equip some of its vehicles with road-mapping software. The system will use Mobileye's Road Experience Management (REM) to collect road data via BMW's camera-based Advanced Driver Assist System (ADAS). Models equipped with the new system will launch next year.
BMW says the agreement is key to getting autonomous vehicles to market. The data collect by BMW and Mobileye will be transferred to HERE, a leading mapping and location service, where it will be be used for live updates of HERE HD Live Map.
"Autonomous vehicles will require HD maps that can identify and update changes in the environment with near real-time speed enabling very short "time to reflect reality," BMW said in a statement.
BMW owners should see benefits of the partnership long before the dawn of autonomous vehicles, however. BMW says its customers will be able to use the system to "access true real-time information on traffic density, potential road hazards, weather conditions, on-street parking, and other helpful information."
BMW says it is open to collaborating with other companies — both OEM and third-party — so it's possible the project could expand in the coming months.