As part of BMW Group's 100th anniversary, the company designed these three concepts for mini, BMW, and Rolls Royce. (credit: BMW)

On Friday morning, BMW, Intel, and Mobileye announced a collaboration that will see a fully autonomous car on sale by 2021. The car will be called the iNEXT, building on BMW's i sub-brand that currently includes a battery electric vehicle city car (the i3) and a hybrid sports car (the i8). What's more, the three companies want to work with other automakers to create an open platform for autonomous driving.

Intel's current processors are already being used by OEMs in their research fleets of self-driving cars, and Mobileye's hardware and algorithms power many of the semi-autonomous cars already on our roads. And even though one of BMW's core values is building "the ultimate driving machine," the Bavarian automaker recognizes that sometimes we don't want to drive ourselves, showing off an autonomous i8 concept at CES in January.

The plan is to develop a platform that will support everything from "level 3" self-driving (where a human driver can be handed back control within several seconds) to "level 5," where the vehicle can complete an entire journey with no human control at all.

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