According to the source, BMW hopes to boost the number of its driverless-related workforce, most of which will be engineers, by 4% among its 50,000-strong workforce.
A BMW spokesperson would neither confirm nor deny the company targets a 2,000-person hire metric for its driverless program, but said self-drive vehicles and mobility solutions will increasingly represent a key part of the company's offerings.
However, AI and machine learning specialists are in short supply, so BMW will likely struggle to meet its hiring quota, Eyal Amir, CEO of Ai Incube and an associate professor of computer science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, told Driverless.
The level of basic knowledge and abilities required right now in the autonomous-cars market is also in high demand in other growing markets, such as marketing automation, finance, and intelligent healthcare. It is a new level of specialization that is required to get an edge in these markets, so the most highly skilled and knowledgeable people are in short supply.
A source close to the development of BMW's iNext said the company's first driverless model remains a work in progress. The neural networking component, which represents the most-difficult technology to configure, is being done in-house, while the German carmaker hopes its new hires will help it to develop the new technology, the source said.
Last year, BMW, Intel, and Mobileye said they were joining forces for the development of the Level 3-enabled iNext model.
BMW also recently disclosed that tier-one automotive supplier Continental is also developing platforms for BMW driverless models, but was not more specific.
BMW thus has its supplier network in place for the base components of its driverless generation of cars, which mainly include Delphi for the underlying computer platform device and Intel and Mobileye for the CPU configuration, cameras. and related software.
Meanwhile, BMW is probably hoping new engineering talent will enable it to develop the machine-learning component of its driverless platform, which remains a last mile for OEMs as the first Level 3 cars are brought to market.