BMW is testing advanced LiDAR technology to outperform Tesla in the development of Level 3 autonomous vehicles.

BMW is testing advanced LiDAR technology to outperform Tesla in the development of Level 3 autonomous vehicles.

Bringing Level 3 Autonomous Driving Closer to Reality: BMW and Innoviz Technologies Team Up

BMW self-driving car

Just a decade ago, the concept of self-driving cars might have seemed like something out of a science fiction movie, but now so much progress is being made that tangible steps are putting more and more autonomous vehicles on the road.

The BMW-Innoviz Partnership: Advancing Autonomous Driving

The latest example of this progress is the partnership between BMW Group and Innoviz Technologies. Their collaboration aims to bring Level 3 autonomous driving to more vehicles through the development of next-generation LiDAR sensors.

Level 3 autonomy refers to vehicles capable of dynamic driving without human intervention. While Tesla’s Autopilot and Full Self-Driving features have long been stuck at Level 2, BMW and Innoviz are pushing the boundaries by working on LiDAR-enabled, highly automated technology.

For years, Tesla CEO Elon Musk had optimistic predictions about reaching Level 3 or above soon, but the reality has been different. BMW and Innoviz’s partnership could potentially leapfrog Tesla and offer advanced autonomous capabilities in the BMW lineup.

Expanding Collaboration for Second Generation LiDAR

Having already collaborated on LiDAR technology, BMW and Innoviz are now focusing on the development of second-generation LiDAR sensors. The initial phase of their collaboration will help determine whether BMW Group enters a serial development agreement with Innoviz.

“We are very pleased to have Innoviz develop the first B-samples of this new LiDAR generation, and hope that the results of the B-sample phase create a basis for a possible future extension of our collaboration,” said Nicolai Martin, SVP Driving Experience BMW Group.

The BMW 7 Series, set to launch later this year, will be one of the vehicles to feature the LiDAR-enabled technology, marking a significant step forward in autonomous driving.

Leveraging LiDAR for Safety and Decision-Making

Beyond self-driving features, BMW aims to enhance vehicle safety even when humans are at the wheel, utilizing LiDAR technology. Both companies are working on developing a LiDAR-based Minimal Risk Maneuver (MRM) system, which acts as a secondary safety driving decision platform.

The advanced performance, reliability, and resiliency of InnovizTwo LiDAR will enable real-time driving decisions to be effectively managed, ensuring the safety of the vehicle and its occupants.

LiDAR: A Crucial Component for Autonomous Driving

LiDAR technology has often faced criticism for being unnecessary and expensive. Tesla, a long-time leader in deploying autonomous vehicle features, has notably chosen not to use LiDAR sensors in its vehicles. CEO Elon Musk has gone as far as stating that “Anyone relying on LIDAR is doomed.”

However, BMW Group’s CEO holds a different viewpoint. He believes that LiDAR sensors are crucial in the development of autonomous driving systems. LiDAR’s greatest strength lies in its ability to detect objects on the road, regardless of weather or lighting conditions.

Optimizing the technology and reducing costs pose significant challenges, but with the collaboration between BMW and Innoviz, Level 3 highly automated driving could soon become mainstream.

“LiDAR is one of the critical technologies underpinning Level 3 or even higher automated functions. Optimizing LiDAR technologies and costs are the major challenges in order to bring Level 3 highly automated driving into the mainstream,” said Martin.

The BMW-Innoviz partnership serves as a testament to the rapid progress being made in the self-driving car industry. With their joint efforts, Level 3 autonomous driving is no longer a distant dream, but rather a tangible reality on the horizon.