BMW, Intel and Mobileye have announced plans to jointly develop an autonomous vehicle that will go on sale by 2021.

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To get there, the three partners will work together on a open hardware and software platform, which will be shared with other automakers, as well as companies in other industries that might benefit from autonomous machines.

The partners will engineer the platform to firstly deal with level three, or eyes off the road, automation. From there they will tackle level four or "mind off" self-driving before going on to level five or driver-free automation.

In the "near term", the three companies will show off a highly automated driving prototype. Next year, the self-driving platform will go into testing with fleets.

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Above: BMW Vision Next 100.

For this collaboration, Intel will supply the processing power and most of the computing hardware, Mobileye is in charge of image processing and machine learning, and BMW designing the vehicle architecture.

In the middle of May, BMW announced plans launch a new self-driving vehicle, dubbed iNext, by 2021. Back then, though, it didn't detail what level of self-driving capabilities it would have.

The iNext will feature an electric drivetrain, lightweight design, and a new interior concept, which might something along the lines of the lounge theme used in the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100.

According to the BMW, the iNext "establishes the opportunity for self-driving fleets ... and lays the foundation for entirely new business models in a connected, mobile world".