Last year, Mercedes-Benz and BMW decided to work together to jointly develop next-generation technology for autonomous vehicles. The goal behind the long-term partnership was to boost their know-how in making automated driving more widely available, as well as making them safer and usable for all to use. However, the project has now been temporarily put on hold.

According to a statement issued by both automakers, “the two companies have arrived at a mutual and amicable agreement to concentrate on their existing development paths – which may also include working with current or new partners”.

Numerous reasons were cited behind the temporary halt on the joint autonomous vehicle project between Mercedes and BMW. The reasons included the huge expenses involved to create a shared technology platform. The two also cited current business and economic conditions underlined by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have systematically further developed our technology and scalable platform with partners like Intel, Mobileye, FCA, and Ansys. Our current technology generation offers very strong, sustainable potential: With extremely powerful sensors and computing power, our robust modular system puts us in an excellent position to offer our customers what they need for many years,” said Klaus Frohlich, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Development.

“Our expertise complements that of the BMW Group very well, as our successful collaborations have proved. Next to decarbonization, digitalization is a central strategic pillar for Mercedes-Benz. To prepare for the future challenges of a rapidly changing environment, we are currently also sounding out other possibilities with partners outside the automotive sector,” said Markus Schafer, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG; responsible for Daimler Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars COO.

Though the partnership has been paused, both companies say that cooperation may be resumed at a later date. But for now, Mercedes-Benz and BMW will continue to pursue the development of autonomous vehicles separately.