BMW & Tencent reveal autonomous car computing centre

19 Jul 2019

BMW and Tencent are joining forces to launch a computing centre in China to help develop self-driving cars, the firms announced on Friday.

The centre, which will be in operation by the end of the year, will provide cars with data-crunching capabilities to help them drive semi-autonomously, with the aim to make them completely autonomous in the future.

BMW and the Chinese online gaming company didn’t reveal the investment being made in the computing centre, Reuters reports, which will be located in the eastern city of Tianjin according to sources with knowledge of the matter.

Jochen Goller, head of BMW’s China operations, said in a statement that the centre “will support BMW’s autonomous driving development and innovation in China.

“BMW can, therefore, develop autonomous driving solutions that fit better with the specific driving conditions in China,” he went on to say.

The German automaker said the new computing centre will control Tencent’s cloud computing and big data, providing BMW with the required infrastructure to develop the self-driving cars.

BMW announced it will likely launch semi-autonomous, or L3 classification, cars in China in 2021. These vehicles would require colossal computing power to evaluate real-time digital information flow on road and traffic conditions.

The car manufacturer’s proposed computing centre in China follows the opening of a similar centre in Munich earlier this year.

Bloomberg reports the Chinese government has targeted mass adoption of self-driving vehicles to begin in 2020, and by 2030 plans for 10% of all new vehicles sold to be fully autonomous. The market for smart and internet-connected cars will generate around 100bn yuan ($15bn) in revenue by next year, according to the Chinese government.

Furthermore, on Thursday BMW announced the appointment of manufacturing expert, Oliver Zipse as its new chief executive, replacing Harald Krueger.

“The Supervisory Board of BMW AG appointed at today’s meeting Oliver Zipse as the new Chairman of the Board of Management with effect from 16 August 2019,” BMW said in a statement on Thursday.

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