BMW's Level 3 Autonomous Driving Technology Will Be Available in 2025

The automaker is collaborating with Qualcomm and Arriver, two technology companies. The goal is to expand the iX and upcoming 7-series' Level 3 self-driving capability to the rest of the BMW lineup.

  • BMW has been collaborating with Qualcomm and Arriver on some autonomous driving technologies since late 2021, but the three have announced a long-term partnership to bring Level 3 technology to BMW vehicles by the second half of 2025, and possibly further.
  • Qualcomm's Snapdragon Ride Vision system-on-a-chip (SoC) and Arriver's Computer Vision technology will be used, which will provide more AV options than BMW's current system, which debuted on the iX last year and will be available on the new 7-series next month.
  • BMW may also incorporate this autonomous technology into future Mini and Rolls-Royce models.

BMW's autonomous driving technology in future iterations will be more connected, and not just to the growing internet of things. BMW announced this week additional details about its autonomous driving partnership with Qualcomm and Arriver, stating that the three companies will collaborate to develop next-generation automated driving solutions capable of Level 3 driving in the second half of 2025, with an eye toward Level 4 driving capabilities thereafter. In summary, Level 3 will enable drivers to ride without touching the steering wheel or constantly monitoring the road on certain highways, but a human must be prepared to take over in the event that the system is unable to drive itself.

This week's news stems from a November 2021 announcement by BMW that it would use Qualcomm's Snapdragon Ride Vision system-on-a-chip (SoC) and Arriver's Computer Vision technology in its next-generation automated driving system. The joint project will combine BMW's existing automated driving technologies, which debuted in the BMW iX in 2021 and will be available in the new 7-series later this year, with Arriver and Qualcomm technology. Qualcomm's Snapdragon Ride autonomous driving platform enables the development of vehicles ranging from conventional Level 1 and Level 2 driver assistance systems to fully self-driving Level 5 vehicles.

"The idea [with the Snapdragon digital chassis] is to achieve economies of scale within an automotive platform that enables OEMs to rapidly scale up," Qualcomm's Nakul Duggal explained during a conference call with journalists. "Being able to develop a reference platform with a partner like BMW that scales from entry-level to luxury vehicles on a global scale is synonymous with what a variety of different automakers require."

The companies said the platform will include a common reference architecture, sensor specifications, and safety requirements. It will be developed with input from more than 1400 specialists worldwide, including the BMW Autonomous Driving Test Center in the Czech Republic, Arriver engineers in Sweden, Germany, and the United States, and Qualcomm employees in South Korea and India. The investments made by the three companies will benefit the entire autonomous driving ecosystem, Duggal said, by shortening the time required to bring this technology to market.

Nicolai Martin, BMW's senior vice president of driving experiences, stated during the call that the technology could also be applied to Mini and Rolls-Royce vehicles, indicating that the project is not limited to BMW brands. Qualcomm, BMW, and Arriver all stated in the announcement that they "remain open to future collaborations."

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