German luxury car maker BMW Group is planning to commence tests of self-driving cars in Israel by the end of this year.

The testing of autonomous cars is expected to start simultaneously with the opening of BMW research and development (R&D) centre in the country.

Citing the German press, en.globes.co.il reported that the move is part of BMW’s strategy to speed up the testing of its autonomous vehicle platform.

Through the trials, the German automaker will be able to collect and study data from over five million kilometres of driving in various conditions across the globe.

“Similarly to public transport, the autonomous car will be able to carry passengers to their destinations on fixed routes without any involvement from the driver.”

BMW, which is gearing up to roll out a production vehicle equipped with Level 3-4 autonomous capabilities by the end of 2021. Level 3-4 implies that the autonomous car can drive itself without the driver’s assistance but only under restricted conditions.

Autonomous cars based on BMW’s 7 series will be used for testing purposes.

Similarly to public transport, the autonomous car will be able to carry passengers to their destinations on fixed routes without any involvement from the driver. Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

With the latest move, BMW joins a list of firms undertaking trials in the country. These include combined testing by Volkswagen, Champion Motors and Mobileye, in addition to Cadillac and Chevrolet, and Yandex.

In February, BMW and Mercedes-Benz manufacturer Daimler teamed up to develop automated driving and driver assistance systems, which are scheduled to be market-ready by 2020.