BMW to use Amazon cloud to build its driverless features for new EVs

BMW revealed the BMW Vision Neue Klasse, a concept electric vehicle that will underpin its foray into battery-powered cars.

Arjun Kharpal | CNBC

MUNICH — BMW will build its semi-autonomous driver assistance system on Amazon’s cloud computing technology, the two companies said Tuesday.

The German automaker’s next-generation advanced driver assistance system, or ADAS, will feature in its Neue Klasse range of electric cars that the company revealed on Saturday — that will launch in 2025.

It comes as traditional automakers look to boost the technology in their cars, with a particular focus on ADAS, to compete with Tesla.

An ADAS is a software system that can offer drivers assistance with actions such as lane changing or parking. Automakers are looking to introduce an increasing number of these features as they push toward autonomous driving. Tesla’s ADAS for example is called Autopilot.

ADAS will require large amounts of data processing as the software relies on hardware sets, including cameras and semiconductors. Artificial intelligence processes are key to underpinning these assisted driving systems.

That’s where Amazon Web Services, or AWS, comes in. BMW will store and process lots of data in Amazon’s cloud servers. As autonomous driving features advance, an increasing amount of data storage and processing will be required.

Developing these features in the cloud will allow BMW to update the software quicker and train new AI models that will carry out increasingly complex autonomous driving functions. These new features, in theory, can be downloaded over the internet straight to the car.

“Implementing these systems on the BMW Group’s international scale requires an approach that can process and analyze vast amounts of data, as well as learn and innovate, so automakers can develop safer and more reliable automated and ADAS systems,” Wendy Bauer, general manager of automotive and manufacturing at AWS, said in a press release.

BMW also said it will use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Ride platform — a set of specialized chips — to help power its ADAS from 2025 onward.

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