The goal of bringing so many bright IT minds together is to create highly automated vehicles as well as new driver assistance technologies. By locating the new campus close to the Research and Innovation Centre, BMW hopes to bypass the long, costly steps usually taken to bring an idea from the drawing board to the testing area.
“New working environments go hand in hand with a new employee and management culture, and managers work in the same open-plan office spaces as their staff,” says BMW.
“This enhances interaction and facilitates communications, resulting in effective teamwork in the development of highly complex products.”
Officially, BMW is currently not testing autonomous cars, at least not with the determination other automakers do.
Plans, revealed last year during a briefing at the Mountain View research campus, are that a Level 3 vehicle is to be released no sooner than 2021. That contradicts earlier rumor that BMW would go for a Level 5 car by the same year.
BMW is, however, testing incipient technologies in a couple of 7 Series prototypes, one going for Level 3 automation and the other for Level 5.
A Level 5 automated car will turn the driver into a mere passenger in a driverless taxi. Such a degree of automation is extremely difficult to achieve, due to a variety of factors.
The cars currently on the market are Level 2, 3 at most. Several manufacturers have begun testing Level 4 technologies, but none has openly ventured so far as to go for a Level 5.