Now that it’s turned a hundred years old, BMW is more than happy to embrace the wave of the future in the automotive space. And that may include investing in talent skilled in the fields of artificial intelligence and other high-end concepts.
Speaking to Reuters at the Geneva Motor Show, BMW executive Klaus Froehlich said that he doesn’t want his company to become automotive’s equivalent to Foxconn for Apple, or a company that merely supplies metal bodies in his example. Simply put, Froehlich doesn’t want BMW to be a mere assist man while others score the figurative points, and he believes the best way to do this is to take on “Internet players” like Google in the field of autonomous vehicles.
“For me it is a core competence to have the most intelligent car,” said Froehlich, talking about BMW’s plans for the future. But making the most intelligent car would require having the right kind of talent onboard. Only 20 percent of BMW’s workforce is made up of software engineers, and Froehlich said he wants that ratio to go up to 50:50. But since German universities aren’t exactly spitting out software engineers in high numbers, BMW is looking to outside tie-ups to this end. This means working closely with cloud computing companies as it continues working on its self-driving projects.
In the meantime, BMW will be licensing out its electric drivetrains to other makers of EVs and hybrids, allowing it to potentially make back the money it spends on research and development.