BMW Group is tapping Chinese Internet giant Tencent Holdings to help develop autonomous vehicles that can accommodate complex traffic conditions and customer demands in China.
Under an agreement signed last week in Beijing, the companies will build a data-driven information technology platform as the basis for developing Level 3 and Level 4 automated driving functions, BMW said.
The IT platform is expected to be set up and made ready for operation by year end.
It will be used mainly for safety validation of Level 3 and the early-stage study of Level 4 technologies before BMW begins series production of Level 3 vehicles in 2021.
After 2021, the platform will assist both the post-production development of Level 3 models and research into Level 4 technologies, BMW noted.
China, which is at the forefront of automated vehicle development, is BMW’s largest market worldwide.
The German luxury carmaker is bucking the downturn in China’s new-vehicle market, with first-half local sales of BMW and Mini brands jumping 17 percent to 350,070.