September 6, 2023
BMW has agreed a deal with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to use its cloud tech to develop automated features for its cars of the future.
The German automaker’s next-generation advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) will be featured in its forthcoming Neue Klasse range of EVs, which was previewed this week at the IAA Mobility Show in Munich, Germany.
The announcement builds on the existing relationship between the pair, as AWS already handles data from BMW’s connected cars.
But the ADAS deal is more significant, as the highly automated driving that the Neue Klasse EVs will deliver is likely to require triple the amount of data than is needed for BMW’s current vehicles.
According to BMW: “The new cloud-based system will leverage BMW’s pre-existing Cloud Data Hub on AWS, and will use AWS compute, generative artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, machine learning and storage capabilities to help accelerate the delivery of highly automated BMW vehicles.”
At the same time, the automaker also confirmed that it is working with Qualcomm to develop automated driving systems on the latter’s modular Snapdragon Ride platform. The systems feature an integrated Ride Vision software stack to enable 360-degree perception for vehicles.
By placing these systems in the cloud, BMW’s software teams can collaborate more effectively with Qualcomm to quicken development.
In terms of what specific features the expanded cloud-based infrastructure might help to deliver, BMW suggested that it will facilitate a swifter rollout of automated lane changes and hands-free driving.
Dr. Nicolai Martin of the BMW Group claimed the new way of working is coming at a crucial time.
“In the next decade, consumer habits and expectations will drive more changes in the automotive industry than we’ve seen over the past 30 years,” he said.
“This is just the beginning of a new era of highly automated driving, fueled by innovations in technology and engineering. By collaborating with AWS, the BMW Group, along with our partner, Qualcomm Technologies, is building our new automated driving platform on AWS’s scalable, secure and reliable infrastructure.”
The company’s next generation of cars was previewed in Munich by the Vision Neue Klasse concept, an electrified saloon that points to a 3 Series-sized model due to go into production in 2025.
The Vision Neue Klasse was widely praised for its minimalist design – as opposed to the controversial, divisive styling showcased on BMW’s recent production vehicles – and also provided clues as to what to expect from the next generation of iDrive tech, which the automaker claims will “transform the vehicle into a digital experience space.”
We’ll have to wait to see exactly what that involves, but one of the highlights will be Panoramic Vision, a huge head-up display that crosses the full width of the windscreen and is controlled using gestures.
A total of six different Neue Klasse models will be revealed over the next two years, as BMW ramps up its electrification program.
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