BMW to spend £427 on new car tech to keep pace with Tesla
The bulk of the money is set to be spent on start-ups currently developing autonomous driving and mapping, which could help BMW’s vehicles attain higher levels of intelligence and efficiency.
The i Ventures wing of BMW was initially founded back in 2011, with a £80 million budget and is currently going through an intensive shake-up.
The department’s headquarters has been moved from New York to Silicon Valley, and the wing is being granted more autonomy so it can make faster decisions on whether to invest in start-ups it feels has potential. It’s also the intention to consider start-ups based in both Asia and Europe, instead of just the US.
“These days, more and more innovations come from the start-up scene,” said Peter Schwarzenbauer, a member of the board of management at BMW Group, which is responsible for MINI, BMW Motorrad, and Rolls-Royce, in a statement. “Venturing allows us to tap into this potential at an early stage. To achieve this, we are now giving BMW i Ventures a much broader footing.”
He added: “The atmosphere of radical openness and idea-driven exchange that characterises the start-up scene is particularly fruitful for an innovation leader like BMW.”
BMW have revealed that i Ventures is to operate independently, guided by two managing directors – Ulrich Quay and Uwe Higgen.
Since its inception, BMW i Ventures has invested in over 15 different mobility connected start-ups. An example is San Francisco’s RideCell, whose technology is now being used in the ReachNow program – BMW’s car sharing service in the US. RideCell’s technology has been “responsible for” the IT platform used for the service, including reservations and billing.