BMW Autonomous-Driving Group to Add Rival Carmakers

BMW AG is close to coaxing at least two major carmakers to the coalition it launched in 2016 to speed development of self-driving-car technologies.

Klaus Froehlich, who heads BMW development, tells Bloomberg News, says there is accelerating interest in the group as carmakers realize how costly it will be to perfect robotic cars on their own.

The carmaker formed the consortium with computer vision developer Mobileye NV, now a part of Intel Corp., and several suppliers. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV joined the group last year. The alliance aims to deliver a fully developed autonomous driving system by 2021.

Carmakers each spent about $1 billion to develop technology suitable for semi-automated vehicles, Froehlich estimates. He says carmakers are growing ready to partner because they now realize those first-generation systems will be scrapped and replaced by far more advanced—and more expensive—technologies.