BMW iNext Strategy To Focus On Autonomous Driving, Connectivity, Electrification

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Originally published on EV Obsession.

BMW has unveiled a new strategy, dubbed iNext, that calls for the company to focus on automated driving, digital connectivity, electrification, and lightweight construction, among other things, according to recent reports.

The new “Project i 2.0” will see the company aim to “broaden its technical expertise” in the aforementioned areas — with the intent being to “consistently achieve further advances in the fields of electric mobility and automated driving.”

BMw iNext

“Throughout its 100-year history, the BMW Group has always reinvented itself. As a pioneer of new technologies, the company has shaped change, within both the industry and the world of mobility,” stated Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, at the Annual Accounts Press Conference in Munich on Wednesday. “We are setting the standard with our Strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT, both now and in the future. We will lead the BMW Group into a new era, one in which we will transform and shape both individual mobility and the entire sector in a permanent way.”

A new press release provides more:

The BMW Group’s strategy will become driving reality, ushering in the next decade in the form of a revolutionary new BMW i model that will raise premium individual mobility to previously unknown levels. Under the banner of BMW iNEXT, the BMW Group brings new forms of automated driving and digital connectivity together with a new generation of electric mobility, lightweight construction and trailblazing interior design that will set new standards for the customer’s mobility experience.

…With project i 2.0, the BMW Group is now following an equally ambitious path with respect to automated and fully networked driving. By bundling the potential opportunities offered by digitalisation, the BMW Group will cement its position as technological leader in this field, too. A clear focus will be placed on high definition digital maps, sensor technology, cloud technology and artificial intelligence, the decisive areas for success in this segment. With the investment in HERE the BMW Group has already secured the availability of high definition maps.

“Our focus is clear: we are securing the BMW Group’s position as technological market leader,” commented Klaus Fröhlich, member of the Board of Management responsible for Development. “With project i 2.0 we will lead the field of autonomous driving. We will turn research projects into new kinds of industrial processes, bringing future technology onto the road.“

Technological market leader huh? I’m not so sure about that, that doesn’t seem to be what Car and Driver thought when they tested everyone’s autonomous drive features out.

Good news though, the more the merrier.

Reprinted with permission.

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

James Ayre has 4830 posts and counting. See all posts by James Ayre

11 thoughts on “BMW iNext Strategy To Focus On Autonomous Driving, Connectivity, Electrification

  • That row of suits in the picture is emblematic of the problem.

    They failed to react to the change that is about to arrive and their fate is now out of their hands. They are locked in survival mode now.

    • Why?

      • They don’t have a response to the Model 3.

        • Do they really need to for another 2-5 years.
          How do you know what they really have?
          I have a feeling that a lot of people are underestimating the German Auto industry.

          • They’re doing a good job of hiding their secret Model 3 killer. For the sake of the German auto industry I hope they do adapt quickly enough. It takes a certain optimism to think that they aren’t in for some interesting times.

          • More realism. They do have a product that is selling very good and will keep seeling for years to come.
            BMW has carbon fiber. They all work together on autonomous driving. VW already has a new BEV platform. The Audi ETron Quattro could even become the first BEV to satisfy even demanding German buyers performance wise.

            There is no reason to believe they couldn’t built a Model 3 like car.
            The market is simply too small to abandon a good selling product at this point.

    • Why?

  • Being the tech leader in the market is not only about autonomous driving. Just think about the i3, high tech and light weight as opposed to e.g. Tesla with its 2+ tonnes and average tech.

  • BMW has some chance compared to other auto juggernauts such as Fiat, VW and Ford as they have invested increasingly to the i-lineup. Organizational structure change towards start-up within the company would be a good move to start developing the c a r for 2020.

  • Sadly, the author left out of the title the most essential innovation that BMW is planning to focus on: LIGHTWEIGHTING. In the end, it will likely be even more important than electrification for the future of green transportation technology.

    Sometime ago, BMW formed a consortium with Siemens, Airbus and the German government to develop a new manufacturing process that would enable it to lower the price of carbon fiber composites tenfold so that the new CFCs will be only twice the price of steel. If the weight of a new vehicle made of such CFCs were to be reduced by more than 50%, the price of that car would be less than that of a steel car and, hence, highly competitive in price, especially in light of its fuel economy. The ETA for achieving this manufacturing price is only about a year away. This is the imminent materials revolution in land, sea and air transportation that, in the end, will likely be even more transformative than electrification. The “small run,” post-prototype VW XL1 is proof of this. It weighs only 1753 lbs and, as a result, gets 260 mpg on diesel, aided by its more advanced aerodynamics. This is the kind of ultra-lightweight design that will make it possible for all the other car manufacturers to achieve an astonishing degree of energy efficiency during the transition to the EV.

    • Lightweighting is critical only if batteries stay expensive. And they aren’t.

      The immediate goal is reaching purchase price parity between same-model 200 mile range EVs and ICEVs. It looks like we’ll get there by about 2020.

      If the cost of lighter materials is significantly higher than steel/aluminum then lightening wouldn’t be the best approach.

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