BMW puts R&D think thank into operation
On a gross floor area of a good 150,000 square metres – roughly half the size of Munich’s Oktoberfest – specialists develop the hardware and software for the BMW Group’s future generations of vehicles. The car manufacturer has so far invested around 1 billion euros in the expansion of its development facilities, including a separate campus for the development of autonomous driving.
For the Bavarian carmaker, the Munich-based FIZ embodies the transformation in the BMW Group’s automotive development, in particular for the new R&D priorities of electrification, digitalization and vehicle connectivity. As a “data driven company”, BMW has planned quite remarkable data processing capacities in this project – the building complex already houses 20,000 servers with a storage capacity of over 90 petabytes. The daily data exchange from and to the Munich FIZ amounts to 115 terabytes – and this does not even include the data from the above-mentioned specially constructed data centre for autonomous driving.
For the first time, all developers of vehicle drives are working under one roof in FIZ Nord – regardless of whether they work on petrol engines or develop electric drives. In this way, the client wants to promote intensive exchange and knowledge transfer between the technologies. In addition to drive development, FIZ Nord also focuses on overall vehicle integration and thus on mastering the increasing complexity of the car. The more than 2,000 employees in the area of complete vehicle integration benefit from the physical proximity to the test benches. The workshop building for test benches and measuring equipment houses 100 test benches and 200 laboratories with the latest technology. Inspection, testing and validation facilities for hardware and software as well as prototype construction form the core of the concept, which integrates all essential functions and is intended to significantly improve processes.
The BMW Group’s Research and Innovation Centre (FIZ), which began in the mid-1980s, was inaugurated in 1990 and has been growing continuously since then, has been home to engine developers, designers, bodywork experts, chassis experts and electronics specialists as well as physicists, chemists, materials researchers and software engineers for decades. In addition, buyers, production planners, construction specialists and many other specialists required for the development process of a modern vehicle work on the site, which is modelled on a university campus. All models for all brands and markets of the BMW Group are created at FIZ.