BMW will extend its autonomous driving program through a new partnership with German company Continental, known best among consumers for its tyre products.
The company is also heavily invested technological development, and in December last year it gained approval to begin testing self-driving systems in the US state of Nevada.
Now, a newly inked partnership between BMW and Continental will see the two brands combine their expertise in a new joint project scheduled to run until the end of 2014.
For BMW, the program will build on its own autonomous driving project, revealed in 2009 when an automated vehicle lapped the Nurburgring autonomously - albeit with a human driver ready to step in if needed.
“With our vision of highly automated driving, we are already developing the technologies and methodologies for a range of cutting-edge driver assistance systems," Dr. Christoph Grote, Head of BMW Group Research and Technology, said this week.
"Partially automated driving functions of the near future, like the Traffic Jam Assistant, will mark an important step on the road to highly automated driving."
Over the next two years, the project will produce a range of prototypes capable of autonomous driving, to be handed over to "a select group of trained test participants".
BMW says the systems developed between now and 2014 will be high quality, near-production prototypes. The company is working towards what it describes as "Vision Zero (Accident Free Mobility)".
Continental and BMW are far from alone in venturing into the realm of autonomous driving, with Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Volvo and even Google all confirming advanced development of their own self-driving systems.
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