Revenue from car-sharing is projected to surge more than seven-fold to US$4,9bn by 2021, according to a study by Boston Consulting Group. Robo-taxis will make up 40% of automotive profits by 2030, more than selling vehicles to individuals, according to consulting company Roland Berger.
BMW will dispatch a fleet of autonomous vehicles to US and European cities in the second half the year, the next step in its partnership with Mobileye and Intel to introduce fully self-driving vehicles by 2021.
The German automaker will put 40 of its 7-Series sedans on the road and train them to drive in urban areas, Klaus Froehlich, BMW’s head of development, said in an interview. The goal is to apply the gathered data toward producing the iNext, which will supplant the 7-Series as the BMW brand’s flagship model and be capable of full autonomy four years from now.
Automakers and technology companies are rushing to form partnerships to compete against the likes of Google, which has clocked 3,2m self-driving kilometres on public roads, and Tesla Motors, with 2,1bn kilometres of data from Autopilot-equipped vehicles. BMW is appealing to other car makers to adopt its approach to help shoulder research costs, speed development by sharing data and ensure they don’t become also-rans.