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BMW starting to get a clue?

mspohr

Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2014
10,072
12,660
California
Interesting news item on Reuters about BMW vision for the future from the Geneva auto show.

At 100, BMW sees radical new future in world of driverless cars
http://www.reuters.com/article/autoshow-geneva-software-idUSKCN0W60HP

"Days before BMW's 100th birthday, its board member for research and development described plans for a completely overhauled company, where half the R&D staff will be computer programmers, competing with the likes of Google parent Alphabet to build the brains for self-driving cars."

They don't want to be a body supplier to Apple:
"Our task is to preserve our business model without surrendering it to an internet player. Otherwise we will end up as the Foxconn for a company like Apple, delivering only the metal bodies for them," Froehlich said.

"We have some catching up to do in the area of machine learning and artificial intelligence,” Froehlich said.


"If I need to get to a ratio of 50:50 within five years, I need to get manpower equivalent to another 15,000 to 20,000 people from partnerships with suppliers and elsewhere," Froehlich said, adding that German schools are not producing enough tech engineers for BMW to hire them all in house.

Of course, they are about 5 years late behind Apple and Google (and 10 years behind Tesla) so they will have to run very hard to catch up... can they do it?
 

Spidy

Active Member
Feb 7, 2015
1,364
1,106
EU
Interesting news item on Reuters about BMW vision for the future from the Geneva auto show.

At 100, BMW sees radical new future in world of driverless cars
http://www.reuters.com/article/autoshow-geneva-software-idUSKCN0W60HP

"Days before BMW's 100th birthday, its board member for research and development described plans for a completely overhauled company, where half the R&D staff will be computer programmers, competing with the likes of Google parent Alphabet to build the brains for self-driving cars."

They don't want to be a body supplier to Apple:
"Our task is to preserve our business model without surrendering it to an internet player. Otherwise we will end up as the Foxconn for a company like Apple, delivering only the metal bodies for them," Froehlich said.

"We have some catching up to do in the area of machine learning and artificial intelligence,” Froehlich said.


"If I need to get to a ratio of 50:50 within five years, I need to get manpower equivalent to another 15,000 to 20,000 people from partnerships with suppliers and elsewhere," Froehlich said, adding that German schools are not producing enough tech engineers for BMW to hire them all in house.

Of course, they are about 5 years late behind Apple and Google (and 10 years behind Tesla) so they will have to run very hard to catch up... can they do
it?
lol
 
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Laserbrain

Member
Aug 15, 2015
198
140
Germany
No offense, but Spidy is right.

Autopilot is old tech.


And other carmakers like Infinity, Mercedes, VW... have it, too. For years.

2014:




So, 10 years behind? LOL. No. But ignorance is bliss.

Just to be clear: the Tesla S/X is still the better car than all the BMWs, Lexus', Mercedes', VWs.... because it is fully eclectric while fully long range capable. But thats it.
 
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R3D-83

Member
Feb 2, 2016
53
0
EU
Of course, they are about 5 years late behind Apple and Google (and 10 years behind Tesla) so they will have to run very hard to catch up... can they do it?

I must agree with Spidy and Laserbrain. This video is more than 5 years old and a BMW could already push hard on a race circuit in fully autonomous mode:


Or here's my favorite. Two years ago on the CES (even before Tesla released the first version of its AP) a BMW was even drifting (!!!) with AP mode enabled:


I know it sounds a blasphemy on a Tesla forum and I really don't want to be trolling, but I have to say that Tesla should catch up to the others.

IMHO, BMW doesn't need to catch up, it just want to keep its leading position in the automotive industry. To do that it has to renew continuously.
 
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Takumi

Member
Aug 25, 2006
716
349
IL
You don't get it. Tesla is the Apple of the automotive industry.

They invented that stuff just like apple invented the stuff and that's why they're ahead of the competition. :wink:
 

R3D-83

Member
Feb 2, 2016
53
0
EU
You don't get it. Tesla is the Apple of the automotive industry.

They invented that stuff just like apple invented the stuff and that's why they're ahead of the competition. :wink:

I agree in some sort of way. I like Tesla because it had the balls to show the world that the EVs are livable (and lovable) cars and they have reason for existence, but the other companies'd already had most of these technologies years earlier than TM was established. E.g. BMW's first electric prototype was made back in '69. Just they didn't really believe in the success of EVs, IMO.

Just like Apple. Apple didn't invent the smartphone, but it showed the world they are not just tech toys but they can be used broadly.
 
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mspohr

Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2014
10,072
12,660
California
I must agree with Spidy and Laserbrain. This video is more than 5 years old and a BMW could already push hard on a race circuit in fully autonomous mode:
Or here's my favorite. Two years ago on the CES (even before Tesla released the first version of its AP) a BMW was even drifting (!!!) with AP mode enabled:

I know it sounds a blasphemy on a Tesla forum and I really don't want to be trolling, but I have to say that Tesla should catch up to the others.

IMHO, BMW doesn't need to catch up, it just want to keep its leading position in the automotive industry. To do that it has to renew continuously.
These are research demo cars. Big difference between demo cars and production cars. Lots of manufacturers have a demo of a self-driving car. It takes a lot of development to put them into production. (The "D" part of R&D)
It looks like BMW is now realizing that they need to hire thousands of programmers to do the hard "development" part. They will have to play catch up.
 

vgrinshpun

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Apr 5, 2013
5,886
22,940
PA

You can't be serious.

Looking at the independent testing, rather than company promo videos, Tesla's Autopilot is "clear winner" against BMW 750i, Infiniti Q50S and MB S65 AMG. It appears that BMW was developing semi-autonomous driving elements even before Model S hit the market, but this did not keep Model S from handily beating BMW 750i in real life testing, the company's promo videos notwithstanding...

So yes, Tesla is ahead of the rivals in semi-autonomous driving, and, most importantly, the lead is most certainly increasing: nobody except Tesla has tens of thousands of cars all over the world, connected in a network with the fleet-wide self-learning capabilities. This fleet is learning from a million auto-pilot driven miles per day.

Looks like inhabitants of the certain European board rooms have their work cut out for them - they need to direct their engineering and R&D to play some serious catch up...

Your "LOL" reminds me of a hearty laughter Steve Ballmer of Microsoft has had about iPhone...

 
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mspohr

Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2014
10,072
12,660
California
10 years?
Maybe only 7 or 8 years :)
(I don't think anyone has an exact measure.)
I'm glad to see that BMW and others realize the importance of this work and are starting to invest in development. However, as we have seen with EVs, the traditional automakers are "traditional" and all of this new-fangled computer stuff is "hard". I think the Silicon Valley companies (Google, Apple, Tesla) have a big advantage in that they don't have pre-conceived notions of a car, they are steeped in a culture of computer technology and they don't have an installed base and fixed mind set about what a car should be.
BMW said that they don't want to be just a hardware manufacturer for Apple but the real question is whether or not they can adopt the Apple mindset and "be Apple"... I personally don't think so but I do wish them all the best and I do hope that they succeed.
 

vgrinshpun

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Apr 5, 2013
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10 years?

This is a reasonable guess. Here is what Tesla currently has and what BMW will have to accomplish to catch up to Tesla as it exists today.


  1. One of the best in industry large team of developers specializing in machine learning and artificial intelligence. As was vividly demonstrated, outsourcing will not cut it - in spite of having more sensors and spending more time developing their semi-autonomous driving capabilities, BMW sorely loosing to Tesla in real life practical (Car & Driver) comparison test. From the article linked in OP, according to the BMW board member for R&D Klaus Froehlich, this task alone could take 5-6 years (or more, as he did not sound very reassuring in his guesstimate):

    "We have some catching up to do in the area of machine learning and artificial intelligence,” Froehlich said. ... "If I need to get to a ratio of 50:50 within five years, I need to get manpower equivalent to another 15,000 to 20,000 people from partnerships with suppliers and elsewhere," Froehlich said, adding that German schools are not producing enough tech engineers for BMW to hire them all in house. ... "Nonetheless I need to build our own in-house competence in the next 5 to 6 years."
  2. The A-Team described in #1 above has to develop a semi-autonomous capabilities that are fully integrated with the electric drive train. No matter how sophisticated the semi-autonomous software and suite of sensors is, the ultimate executor of a lot of commands is the drivetrain. An ICE based drivetrain just can't match the capabilities (precision of the control, latency, etc.) of the electric drivetrain. Besides, marrying 21st century technology to the last century propulsion system seems to be waste of resources of biblical proportions.
  3. In order to deploy fully connected large fleet of cars that will comprise the fleet-wide learning network, BMW will need to be willing to design electric car that will compete head to head with (and mercilessly steal sales from) the comparable cars from their ICE offerings. So far they demonstrated zero interest in doing that. The i3 is perfect example of this - it can NOT compete with a 3-series. In fact BMW went to great length to design i3 (including driving dynamics and looks) in a way that it DOES NOT compete with the 3-series. In another word, BMW will not be able to sell enough "compliance cars" to build required large fleet of cars involved in self-learning semi-autonomous driving. I have no idea how long it will take decision makers inside BMW to get to this realization. At this point the writing is clearly on the wall, but they still give no indication that they realize that the required scale can't be achieved with the "compliance cars".

So here you have it - "to do list" - you can take your own shot at how long it will take BMW to catch up to Tesla.
 
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vgrinshpun

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Apr 5, 2013
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Pretty amusing for the "Vision Next 100".

It would be interesting to see the "Vision Next 10" variant as well...

And please, somebody tell them that the buttons are passé now, leave along within the "Next 100". The manual controls need pressing the button to disappear into the dash? The door needs the button pressed to know that the driver exited the vehicle to close? :rolleyes:
 
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