BMW has big plans for its fully independent iNext car, but making the car will require a simplified, coordinated and automated system – something Microsoft wants to help build.
On Tuesday, BMW and Microsoft announced a partnership to launch a new open-source manufacturing platform called Open Manufacturing Platform (OMP). It depends on Microsoft Azure, which BMW is already using to run more than 3,000 devices in 30 production and assembly locations around the world.
It was not immediately clear how much money each company would put into the partnership.
OMP aims to manufacture self-driving systems in a simplified, cost-effective manner that can ultimately help other things, such as digital supply chain management and predictive maintenance.
It’s all about creating an “intelligent factory”. To achieve connected automatic machines, the sample code for a single product – for example, the self-driving component – will be available in the open source reference platform. With everything open and available, different teams and other companies can eventually back off installed systems.
Microsoft and BMW are the first two partners to use OMP, but the plan is to use between four and six companies by the end of the year. Even companies that do not build self-driving cars can join what OMP calls their “community”.